Review Detail

Kids Fiction 614
Can You Believe Your Eyes?
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
'Duck on a Tractor,' written and illustrated by David Shannon, encourages readers to suspend disbelief, if only to create a magic in its readers' eyes that they wouldn't have otherwise. It is not often that one sees a duck driving a tractor, so finding a way to make sense of what one thinks they saw while knowing deep down that they are setting aside the truth in order to fit in with the masses is an underlying theme that is quite important to understand. After all, no one wants to seem crazy enough to say they saw a duck on a tractor, but maybe, just maybe, that suspension of disbelief will be the key to creating an open and honest conversation about how life is full of funny occurrences and coincidences, but we just have to open up our eyes to see them.

The friendships that stem from the duck being on the tractor and inviting all of his animal friends, to the people around town watching it happen in disbelief are another strongly thematic part of the story. The duck, unbeknownst to him when he decided to sit on the tractor in the first place, brought together a whole town - both of animals and people - through his one mischievous act. Even though they are all sure they must have seen things, one boy, Edison, is seen looking back through his camera on the other side of the tractor when all is said and done. He seems content in that moment to keep his certainty that it happened to himself and not share the pictures he has taken, leaving the rest of the townsfolk to their own certainty that they must be seeing things.

It was also enjoyable to see how David Shannon incorporated how not only do people see one thing and yet react in a different way to it, but they also might say one thing out loud but think another. People tend to do this, sometimes to save someone's feelings, sometimes to save face, and for a variety of other reasons. Yet Shannon also found a way to incorporate how there tends to be someone who says it like it is, as Manny the Cook does in this book. It's important to know that just as Edison knew that he alone truly believed he saw all of the animals on the tractor, Manny the Cook knew he was being completely truthful with anyone he spoke to, always saying exactly what he thought.

The illustrations captured the chaos of the tractor and the befuddlement of the townsfolk. Every character, both animal and human, had eyes that were especially telling of their feelings and interest in the goings-on.

David Shannon has created a story whose themes resonate from children to adults. From being mischievous to not believing one's eyes, everyone can find a way to connect with the characters in 'Duck on a Tractor.'
Good Points
The illustrations captured the chaos of the tractor and the befuddlement of the townsfolk. Every character, both animal and human, had eyes that were especially telling of their feelings and interest in the goings-on.
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