In this darkly witty collaboration, a mouse is gobbled up by a wolf. Inside, he meets a duck who has set up housekeeping.
– New York Times Editors’ Choice
The story’s timeless, fable-like feel is bolstered by its traditional cast and old-fashioned fairy-tale language: “Oh, woe!” cries the wolf. “Oh shame!” Life can turn the tables pretty quickly, Barnett suggests, and only those whose outlooks are flexible will flourish. “I may have been swallowed,” says the duck, “but I have no intention of being eaten.” A rare treasure of a story, the kind that seems to have been around forever.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Barnett and Klassen’s collaborations are always good for a laugh, and this one banks heavily on absurdity, to great effect. Klassen’s mixed-media artwork transforms the wolf’s interior into a delightfully domestic scene, and Barnett’s writing is peppered with amusing details. This original pourquoi tale will make a fantastic choice for storytimes, as kids will want to dance along with the duck and mouse—when they’re not rolling in the aisles, of course.
—Booklist (starred review)
Barnett’s shrewd wit and subtle sense of irony come across expertly in short, snappy sentences, while the repeated refrain of “Oh woe!” and the pourquoi-tale ending lend the story a folkloric tone…Reminiscent of classic animal fables, with this winning team’s signature humor and charm, this is a first purchase for any picture book collection.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Klassen’s signature palette, compositions, and comedic, horizontally elongated eyes are here along with the heightened action propelled by Barnett’s narrative. Barnett wrestles Aesop and Grimm into pretzels, adding a groaner ending (“And that’s why the wolf howls at the moon”) for the mustard. A howl.
The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse is, like all Barnett-Klassen collaborations, distinctly funny, imagination-stirring and lovely to look at.
—Shelf Awareness Pro