Have you ever wondered what happened to that poor duck –swallowed whole– in Peter and the Wolf? It is time to put your worries aside, for the answer lies in The Wolf, The Duck and The Mouse, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen. If you are not yet familiar with the comedic synergy of this New York Times best-selling duo, you may want to also check out Square (or any of their shape books), caldecott winning Extra Yarn, or one of my students’ favorites, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. Admittedly, I’m a fan of Barnett and Klassen, but my favorite of their partnerings is The Wolf, The Duck, and The Mouse.
In this tale, a wolf wanders the woods, in search of, like all carnivores, a fleshy meal. Nothing messy, just a simple gulp takes a mouse into a world of darkness. To the mouse’ surprise, it is accompanied by a duck who was also swallowed whole. In the wolf’s belly, the duck teaches the mouse how to live the good life, free of fear and full of dancing and dinner parties. One day, however, a belly ache and a hunter threaten the mere existence of the three animals. Teamwork, courage and a hilariously unexpected plan save the day!
This book is perfect for 3-5 year olds and delightful for 2 year olds and older (I have a good friend who reads it multiple times a day –not because her baby loves it– but she does). It carries with it the traditional Barnett-Klassen dry humor and whit, thoughtfulness and a Native American myth-like ending that explains a natural phenomenon in the animal kingdom.
Check it out from your local library or bookstore for a delightful read and leave a comment about what you thought of it!