________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 8 . . . . October 25, 2013


The Voyage.

Veronica Salinas. Illustrated by Camilla Engman. Translated by Jeanne Eirheim.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2013.
40 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-55498-386-5.

Subject Heading:
Ducks-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

** /4



Maybe one day you have to leave
and you are blown so far that you forget
who you are and where you come from.
And you land someplace.

This simple, but rather odd tale by Veronica Salinas tells the story of a duck blown away to a strange place full of unusual creatures with which he can't communicate. He comes across a fly, a fish and a mouse who express themselves in an unfamiliar or peculiar language. Then the duck meets with someone that looks somewhat familiar, at least his webbed feet look like his own.

internal art      He asks this stranger "Who am I?"

      The response is, "You are who you are."

      The duck finally understands, and he is able to relate to the other inhabitants and happiness ensues. And even though his new found friend is blown away, the little duck is able to connect with others.

      Unfortunately, the reader will not share this happiness and is still left in the dark from this vague and mediocre offering. There is little to explain why the changes are taking place, and it is hard to shake the feeling of sadness, even with the lighter ending that is offered. A fleshed out story line for this age group could help a young reader understand the importance of knowing "who you are"! If indeed adapting and responding to new situations and to changes in one's life is the message, the result here seems mixed and uncertain. However, there is a gentle humour to this translation from Veronica Salinas, and the pencil drawings, composed and coloured digitally, do reflect the story because of their muted tones.

      An Internet search of the author and title revealed the following:

      First published in Norway in 2012, this deceptively simple book about adapting to new situations will appeal to children who are just starting school or daycare, children who are about to move to a new home, or children who are learning a new language.
Without making unrealistic promises, this story reassures children that, with time, they can adapt to any new environment and make new friends to explore it with.

      For this reviewer, The Voyage missed the mark here in exploring this issue effectively and could have benefitted with a less subtle format.


Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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