________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 19 . . . . May 15, 2009

cover Have You Ever Seen a Duck in a Raincoat?

Etta Kaner. Illustrated by Jeff Szuc.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2009.
32 pp., hardcover, $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-246-9.

Subject Headings:
Clothing and dress-Juvenile literature.
Animals-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

** /4

Have you Ever Seen a Duck in a Raincoat? is the first in what is indicated will be an easy science series from Kids Can Press. This book compares the function of various items of human clothing to animal skin, feathers and hair.

internal art

     For example, one opening asks: "Have you ever seen a caribou in boots?" and shows an uncomfortable-looking horned animal standing on the ice in lace-up boots with fur collars. It goes on "Caribou don't wear boots. People do."

     The following pages elaborate:

I wear boots to help me walk ice and snow. What do caribou do? Caribou have hard hooves with sharp edges. In winter, caribou use their hooves to dig through snow for food and dig into ice when they walk. Hairs on the bottom of the hooves also keep the caribou from slipping.

     There is a series of these "Have you ever.?" statements, but there is no introduction to the overlying theme, no development past the individual fact bites, nor any summation. Each pair of spreads stands on its own.

     The last page contains a suggestion for a board game using the tic-tac-toe style endpapers of the book and comparisons among animals and humans as contributed by the players. This is very schoolish in tone and likely to attract only the most earnest young readers.

     The book's smaller trim-size is inviting. Jeff Szuc's artwork makes use of richly-applied acrylics and is bright, filling the pages. The human faces are marionette-like and the bodies awkward, although the cheetah in sneakers and the whale in a parka are amusing.

     Have you Ever Seen a Duck in a Raincoat? is a browsing book rather than something someone would likely go to for information. It is an acceptable addition to the primary section of a school or a public library.


Ellen Heaney is Head of Children's Services at the New Westminster Public Library, New Westminster, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.