Posted by Andrew | Posted in book reviews, First Second, graphic novel | Posted on 06-03-2013
Cecil Castellucci & Sara Varon
Theodora is a perfectly normal duck, thank you very much. She swims with a teacup balanced on head to help maintain perfect posture and stays north when the rest of the ducks fly south for the winter (why would she want to leave her home??) and there’s nothing strange about that. Chad, her newest neighbor, on the other hand is a bit odd. I mean he dyes his feathers weird colors and has all kinds of weird art projects around. But…they do like some of the same things. But can Theodora ever be friends with such an odd duck as Chad?
While this is an age old story, being yourself and making friends, Sara Varon and Cecil Castellucci bring their own unique twists to the story. By creating ducks as characters that are both clearly a bit different, Cecil lets the reader see that differences can seem perfectly normal to the other person. Even better though, is that Cecil shows that being the different…isn’t all that bad. In some ways its a good thing, because it means you get to experience things differently than everyone else. And you might just have a friend to acompany you along the way.
Sara Varon’s normal color palette of soft pastels works well for this book, making it feel like a book from 30+ years ago. Especially with the end papers of the book, they are just absolutely beautiful and I feel like I could spend hours just looking at them. I mean they don’t have a lot of detail, repeating patterns of duck characters, but the memories associated with that type of design and color are fantastic. Sara also had lots of nice details hidden in the images, such as Theodora’s carpet in the bedroom that looks like moving water with a dolphin and seahorse swimming around. All in all it’s just a beautifully illustrated book.
In many ways this book reminds me of one of my favorite all time picture books The Big Orange Splot. Together these two create a vibrant and colorful story that readers young and old will greatly enjoy. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.
ETA: Please note I misspelled Sara’s name when I first posted, it should be Varon, not Varnon.
ARC provided by Gina at FirstSecond