Monday, May 04, 2009

Children’s Books: Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

There’s an almost crazy amount of charm in every inch of Duck! Rabbit! (Chronicle Books) by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. It’s a children’s picture book intended for people three and up and -- somehow, as if by magic -- it is more than the sum of its parts.

I suppose you could say that the “story” involves conflict and the resolution of it but, to be honest, even calling it a story takes it a little far. More like a conversation -- all off-screen -- on the nature and identity of the title creature.
“It’s a duck and he’s about to eat a piece of bread.”

“It’s a rabbit and he’s about to eat a carrot.”
The only reason those two lines are worthy of remark is that they’re said about the exact same image. And that same image crops up again and again with different backgrounds and different ideas of what it is (“Duck! Rabbit!) and what it’s doing. While that doesn’t really sound like enough on which to base a book -- or, for that matter, a review -- there’s something about how it all comes together that small children will find comforting. There’s not enough here for older children to call “story” but they’ll find it amusing and new readers will be able to master all of the simple words before long.

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