By Claire Garralon
Published by Book Island ISBN 978-1-911496-02-1
Reviewed by Spencer Hill
It’s My Pond is the latest release from French author and illustrator Claire Garralon, and was originally published as C’est Ma Mare by French publishers editions MeMo. It has been translated into English by Sarah Ardizonne for Book Island, a Bristol based publishing house who specialise in translated picture books.
It’s My Pond is a picture book for young children, so as you would expect it isn’t going to take me too long to explain the plot. A yellow duck discovers a pond and declares it as theirs, but is forced to share when first a white duck, then many more coloured ducks all turn up and want in on the act. The pond gets subdivided more and more until eventually each duck only has a tiny space they can call their own.
When a black duck turns up near the end it proposes that rather than subdividing they all just share and enjoy the whole pond together, and we have our morality message. Sharing and equality of colours is a good thing, and everyone is happier for it. This is then surpassed by the popular saying ‘there is always a bigger fish’ when the whole cycle begins again with coloured hippopotamuses, and the ducks are forced to vacate.
This is a charming story with a simple but important message to children that sharing and equality are good concepts to be embraced and understood. The book is beautifully presented, and feels very substantial and durable in hardback format with good quality paper inside. This is one of those books that feels good to hold which enhances the experience for the reader. The artwork and the lettering are presented boldly, with flat, bright colours and very simple compositions presented on white backgrounds. It is very pleasing on the eye, and there is no confusing additional detail or shading to distract from the story.
The ducks have been painted with circles on their heads for some reason, which gives them the appearance of a fairground game. I am not certain why the illustrator chose to do this. Perhaps she was intending on licensing a ‘hook the duck’ game to accompany the book? The lettering must be mentioned too, as all of the writing within the book uses a stylish font which has a stencilled or stamped feel to it, but remaining very polished and crisp at the same time. On some pages, the lettering has been presented within the pond or the ducks themselves, which is a clever and effective way to lay out the page.
Beautiful to hold and beautiful to look at It’s My Pond is a wonderful and simple story with a positive message. Also, you can buy both the French and English versions and teach your child to speak French at the same time! What more incentive could you need to add this to your child’s library?
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