Kirkus Reviews QR Code
IT’S USEFUL TO HAVE A DUCK by Isol Kirkus Star


by Isol & illustrated by Isol

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-88899-927-6
Publisher: Groundwood

Why on earth is it useful to have a duck? In a series of accordioned spreads on yellow board, a little boy reveals the answers, accompanied by swift line sketches that illustrate them: “I use him for a hat. / He can be a whistle or a straw” (here the duck and boy are depicted beak-to-lips). The work would be no more than a quaint curiosity were it not for the verso, on blue board, which is titled It’s Useful to Have a Boy, in which the identical images receive a very different gloss in the duck’s voice: “I use his head to see the view / and he gives me kisses.” Bands of yellow or blue line each fold to contrast with the primary background color and to unify the whole. Do not be deceived by the simple-looking board format: This is not for babies. Rather, it challenges children who have accepted the initial premise with developmentally appropriate narcissism to regard the world from the opposite perspective. Gently mind-bending, this playful Mexican import, packaged in a slipcase, will get readers thinking. (Novelty. 3-7)