Sunday, March 27, 2011

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld (2009)

Duck! Rabbit!Duck! Rabbit! (which you can view on YouTube here) is another one of those deceptively simple books that is as fun---and as profound---for adults as it is for kids.  Heck, I've even brought it to my college lit classes both to talk about how a text might legitimately be interpreted in two contradictory ways and to illustrate the crucial role that context plays in shaping interpretation.

This book is one of four collaborations by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld (along with Yes Day!, The OK Book, and It's Not Fair).  In addition to making children's books, Krouse Rosenthal writes adult books (most famously her memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life) and makes films; Lichtenheld is an art director.

Each page of the book revisits the classic duck/rabbit image shown on the cover, with slightly different contextual details.  The text---comprised of two contradictory "voices"---repeatedly tries to direct the readers' interpretation of the image ("See, there's his bill." "What are you talking about? Those are ears, silly.")  The illustrations are skillfully rendered in thick black ink and watercolor.   Their clarity and simplicity, echoed in the crisp diction, perfectly balances the complex epistemological concept behind the book, making it accessible and fun (I'm totally serious) for all ages. 

Miss E's Read:  This book quacks her up every time.

P.S.  A Teacher's Guide and fun E-Postcards (among other things) are available here.

1 comment:

  1. Jude loves this book too, Helen. Thanks for sending it to him!