The team behind The OK Book again plays with perspective and visual trickery, this time using a classic image that looks like either a rabbit (with long ears) or a duck (with a long bill). In a series of spreads that show the boldly outlined duck/rabbit against a blue sky, two offstage speakers, their words appearing on either side of the animal's head, argue their points of view. The snappy dialogue makes for fine read-aloud: "Are you kidding me? It's totally a duck." "It's for sure a rabbit." Though the main image is basically static, Lichtenheld has fun with the details and setting, placing the animal behind green leaves ("Now the duck is wading through the swamp." "No, the rabbit is hiding in the grass"), near water ("Look, the duck is so hot, he's getting a drink." "No, the rabbit is so hot, he's cooling off his ears"), etc. The creature's disappearance brings a brief moment of reconciliation, but the twist ending puts the speakers at odds again. Duck? Rabbit? As kids will readily see, it depends on how you look at it. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The argument of two unseen characters forms the basic text of this examination of the classic optical illusion of the head that can be a duck or a rabbit. Each commentator is certain of his position, with one pointing out the duck's bill and the other insisting, "Those are ears, silly." The central double-page image never changes, but objects may be added around it. On one page, a piece of bread appears on the left as the "duck prepares to eat it with its bill." On the next, the "rabbit" is about to eat a carrot on the right. On the following spread, "Quack" issues from the duck, while the other character hears the "rabbit sniff." Tall greenery next obscures the same creature, but is he wading through the swamp or hiding in the grass? Is he flying or hopping on the following pages? Is he cooling his ears or drinking? When the next double-page appears empty, each narrator accuses the other of scaring him away. Then they reconsider…until another debatable creature arrives. The very simple representations are framed and created with thick black ink lines, watercolors, and "a wee bit of colored pencil." They maintain the ambiguity reinforced by the arguing text. The reader is challenged to perceive both possible creatures while figuring out how they can co-exist. Clouds in nebulous shapes including duck and rabbit float across the end pages. Emphasizing the comic ambiguity, the back cover features the comment, "Hey, look! A zebra!" alongside an animal whose body is the bar code. Or is it a horse? Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The art of optical illusions provides creative fodder for young guessing-game enthusiasts. In this modern twist on a classic form, two unseen characters' cheerful banter provides clues to an unknown object's identity. Each tries to persuade the other to see his or her version of the picture; their interactions' brevity provide a subtle charm. "Here, look at my duck through my binoculars." "Sorry, still a rabbit." The central character in this slight story is Lichtenheld's ink, watercolor and colored-pencil art. Two laid-back, parallel rabbit ears-or a duck's bill depending on the reader's focus-serve as the dominant image against the soft blue background, occupying the center of the composition even as its context changes. Thick black outlines perfectly complement the solid illustration within; its observant single eye seamlessly appears to look in opposite directions. The images displayed are also reflected in the endpaper's billowy clouds, providing a whimsical touch. Once youngsters solve this puzzle, they'll be clamoring for the next. Now is that a brachiosaurus or an anteater? (Picture book. 5-8)
From the Publisher
"Deceptively simple and brilliantly executed."-School Library Journal
School Library Journal
PreS—In this clever board book told in two voices, viewers are asked to identify a single central figure in different ways. Is it a duck? Is it a rabbit? It all depends on where you sit and the few subtle details that are offered. The heavy black outlined artwork is deceptively simple and brilliantly executed. Duck? Rabbit? Let the debate rage on!