Monday, March 15, 2010

Duck! Rabbit!

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. 2009. DUCK! RABBIT! Ill. by Tom Lichtenheld. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN 9780811868655 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 2]

In DUCK! RABBIT! the reader listens in on the conversation of two unseen characters, discussing their opinions on the obscurely drawn title character. Is it a duck or is it a rabbit? When you look at the creature from one point of view, the answer is obvious; but with the aid of suggestion and a few props, readers may change their minds. The unseen characters continue to plead their case in simple text, but in the end even they are not so sure. “You know, maybe you were right.” This moment doesn’t last and the story ends with a new debate: “Hey, look! An Anteater!” “That’s no anteater. That’s a brachiosaurus!”

Heavy simple lines dominate the illustrations. The creature in question, whose long beak (or is that ears?) are created out of great white space outlined in heavy black line. Additional details are filled in with bright, cheerful and detailed watercolors. The great debate continues into the end matter. After the closing page reads: “The End” the text on the back matter is: “(It’s not the end! There’s all this stuff!)” And on the back cover, even the barcode, drawn on a zebra’s body, is cause for debate. “Hey look! A zebra!”

This story would lend itself perfectly to a Reader’s Theater performance. Follow this with a continuation of the merits of each reader’s opinion and cap off the debate with a vote. Who will win? DUCK? RABBIT?

For a closer look at perception try pairing with these:
Hoban, Tana. JUST LOOK. ISBN 9780688140410
Shaw, Charles Green. IT LOOKED LIKE SPILT MILK. ISBN 9781595193209
Steiner, Joan. LOOK ALIKES. ISBN 9780316713481

By Marianne Follis

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