Brett Avison (text), Janine Dawson (illus.), Ducks to Water The Five Mile Press, 1 April 2015, $14.95 (hbk), 32pp., ISBN: 978-1-76006-606-2
For young lads who love cranes, and diggers and cars (like my two year old grandson), this pop-up book is bound to please! Visually celebrating open rural spaces (“there’s plenty of space at Mum and Ted’s place where a boy and his best mate can play”), we visually also focus on Bryn, a young lad and his best mate Oscar, a dog. We follow them when we turn the page as they track the quacks of a mum and dad duck who are clearly annoyed at a dry sparse pond that has no water because of a blocked pipe. Bryn rushes home to tell Ted what has happened, insisting that a crane might be needed. They bring every tool to the pool and soon discover that Bryn is right, a crane is sorely needed (and a friend obliges).
Fans of the author’s previous books (A Bigger Digger and Stuck in the Muck) will recognise some common motifs here and could well make connections to these books. They too will expect a double page pop-up event, but in this book, the focus is on the joy of the result rather than the process of using a machine. “The ducks were all thrilled-they played as it filled. The ducklings all raced to dive in. First one then another and even Bryn’s mother. They all jumped in for a swim!” Springing out of the book is the pop-up of eight ducklings delighting in dabbling and diving! Look out Oscar, ducks are not silly and they have learnt how to return sticks too! My one hesitation in “giving” this book to my grandson who is likely, because of his previous experience of handling the author’s books, to rip it apart with his exhuberance!
reviewed by John McKenzie