Sunday, April 18, 2010

So Close

Every day, Mr. Duck sets off for work. And across town, Mr. Rabbit does the same. These two fellows live in opposite directions and pass each other every day. Do they stop and say hello? No. They do not smile, they do not wave, they do not lock eyes. They most certainly do not pass knowing glances or slap a quick high five.

While the mode of transportation varies, their lack of acknowledgment never does. Some days Mr. Duck and Mr. Rabbit motor in - driving fine cars the color of ripe tomatoes and fat pumpkins. When the weather cooperates, they ride their striped bicycles or simply hoof it.  By car, on a bike, or on foot, they pass in silence, never calling out a friendly word. 

If one of them would just throw out a simple greeting, quite possibly their entire lives would change. They could become the best of friends, instead of two strangers passing by every day.  What a world of difference one little hello could make.  Hence, the title of the book - these two are so close to becoming friends and yet so far, for they each refuse to take the first step.  The last two pages show Mr. Duck and Mr. Rabbit as fast friends - sharing an umbrella, enjoying a cup of coffee, riding together in one car.  How sweet it could be ...

I really like that the author took a concept that many of us could admit to passively participating in, cleverly applied it to two adorable animals, and came up with a winning story. It doesn't hurt that her illustrations are equally sweet and quirky. They are fairly simply done, but the colors are muted and a bit fuzzed about the edges, so it isn't an overly bright book. Also, I should point out that the writing is equally simple with just a couple words per page. This is the perfect book for a three year old or four year old. Simple writing and great illustrations but without that babyish feel that some books project.  This is a grown-up type book for that age group.  

I do wonder how many friendships I am missing out on by having missed the opportunity of saying hello.  That definitely is not something that I want to teach my children, that they should sit back and  wait for the greeting instead of offering their own. Mr. Duck and Mr. Rabbit show us the power a friendly word can wield.  Reach out, be friendly - you may very well may gain more than you had imagined.

Review copy provided by Tundra Books. 

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