Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

Duck is the friend that most of us have, the one who gets wild ideas and acts on them rather hastily but somehow the outcomes never backfire. Secretly we admire these friends for their daring and bravery. Aloud we ask, warningly, "Are you sure that's a good idea?" while we shake our heads and inwardly mumble, "I'd never get away with that," knowing full well the friend will. And way down deep, sometimes even unknowingly, we think, "Wish I'd thought of that."

Don't have a friend like that? Maybe it's you.

Anyway, one day Duck gets the wild idea that he could ride a bike. So just like that he tries it. The bike's a little big, he rode slowly and he wobbled a lot, but he did it. Just like that.

So Duck sets off on the Tour-de-Barnyard (alas, there is no yellow jersey). He rides past all the other farm animals, and each gives the standard bark or neigh or bleat or cluck.

Ducks don't ride bikes, but of all the barnyard animals which one would be more likely to attempt it? Here’s part of the beauty of David Shannon’s book. Each animal’s standard “Moo” or “B-a-a-a” or “Woof” is followed by their actual thoughts. These thoughts, to this non-farmer anyway, seem to match the animals’ personalities. The horse, smug, thinks, “You’re still not as fast as me, Duck!” The cat thinks, “I wouldn’t waste my time riding a bike.” The goat, rummaging through the garbage and with a tin can in his mouth thinks, “I’d like to eat that bike.” Only mouse recognizes his desire to duplicate Duck’s feat.

Good ole Duck. After being so daring, there’s only one thing to do when an entire flock (herd? school?) of kids park their bikes in the yard: Recognize your inward desire to be like that friend and go riding!

I’ve said this before, but any book that gets kids calling out words is a winner. Kids will quickly be moo-ing and meow-ing and woof-ing with each corresponding animal and will also notice the repeated text (“But what he thought was…”).


Hey. Why is Duck looking at the tractor that way?

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