The Wolf, the Duck and The Mouse
40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
When the wolf swallows the mouse, Mouse is very surprised to find that his cries of woe wake Duck who is safely ensconced in bed and trying to sleep. Because it is dark in the wolf’s tummy, the difference between daylight and darkness can’t be discerned but when Duck discovers it is morning he declares it is breakfast time and produces the first of many surprises for Mouse.
Explaining that on the ‘outside’ there was always the danger of being swallowed, but now that that has happened Duck has no intention of being eaten and so has set up home in the ‘belly of the beast.'”You would be surprised what you can find inside of a wolf”.
But their celebrations give the wolf a bellyache and his howls attract the attention of a hunter…
Despite the limited colour palette, there is much that is included in Klassen’s illustrations that those attuned to looking for detail will enjoy and which will make the ending not only surprising but appropriate.
This story has a fable/fairytale quality that is enhanced by both the choice of characters and the language they use, and its conclusion cements that. While primarily for younger readers, it also has a place in the library of those a bit older as the underlying message that it is those who are flexible who will flourish in a world and time of change is so relevant.