Review: The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse

Tonight’s choice of bedtime story was influenced by mummy who had noticed this languishing in our library #tbr pile and decided to give T a nudge in its direction – The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.

Like all good fables, the opening here is suitably grim – Mouse is enjoying a morning stroll through the woods when he is unexpectedly and abruptly gobbled up by Wolf. Fearing the end is near, Mouse laments and it is these grumbles which lead to another unexpected event; a voice in the dark shouting for him to be quiet! Turns out he has woken Duck who, until that moment, was tucked up in bed in the belly of Wolf! And that isn’t the end of the unexpected.

Duck has a fully furnished home going on, explaining that living in the belly of Wolf means he doesn’t have to worry about being eaten by a wolf! Mouse decides to stay and the pairs celebrations lead to Wolf having a tummy ache! This then leads to an encounter with a hunter and it looks like curtains for Wof before Mouse and Duck decide to defend their home! Saving the day earns the respect of Wolf and he offers a favour in return. Can you guess what they ask for? And how might the favour explain why wolves howl at the moon?!

I’m not really sure I can fully explain the quality of this book! It’s a modern fable that is clever, funny and feels like an instant classic. This is a book that children and adults will enjoy reading (I loved the line “I may have been swallowed but I have no intention of being eaten.”) again and again. Klassen’s illustrations are, as always, superb – a dark palette, lots of humour and slightly surreal. This is genuinely about as good as picturebooks get imho.

One that children of all ages should have the opportunity to enjoy. T and I both loved it. He told me, “I loved how the Duck lived in his belly and had a table and oven!” After an insanely busy day of gardening and repeated trips to the tip, T was far too sleepy for a solo read and instead was snoring almost immediately!

You can get a copy of tonight’s story via the link below…

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