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Major, Henriette.

Illustrated by Philippe Beha and translated by Alan Brown. Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1988. 32pp. cloth, 814.95. ISBN 0-7710-5472-6. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 3/Ages 5 to 8
Reviewed by Catherine Mclnerney

Volume 17 Number 3
1989 May

Henriette Major has chosen the popular topic of exploration of the world outside a child's own backyard for this book, her second book translated into English by Alan Brown.

The story is about a wild duck who seeks the end of the world. She asks the animals that she encounters where it is, but discovers that everyone has different ideas about its location. Finally, the duck learns to accept her own curious nature, and she begins her own quest.

The illustrations by Philippe Beha have a wonderful wild Mercer Mayerish flavour to them. The text of this modern fairy-tale, however, is rather lengthy and complex for its recommended audience. Various diversions (such as having the duck fly like a seagull) aide-track from the main plot in a way that may entertain but adds little depth to the story. As well, the ending is a bit puzzling, as the text says the duck is off to visit Madagascar, but the final illustration shows the duck back in her pond.

Other literary ducks have made the same voyage (e.g., Ping in Marjorie Flack's The Story about Ping (Penguin, 1977. 1933)) and have made important discoveries about themselves and their relationships with others. Tills book, therefore, is not an essential addition to the collection. Its light tone and modem style, however, would make it useful as a read-out-loud book. It also suits the child in the early grades who enjoys reading from "easy" books but is not quite ready for chapter books.

It is nice to see an author who is popular in Quebec becoming more well known in the rest of Canada and I'm sure we'll be reading more of Major's work soon.

Catherine Mclnerney, London, Ont.
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