It's not until you become an adult, or a parent yourself, that you realize all those sayings heard from your mom and dad are true and downright handy. As children their repetition is enough to drive you bonkers. You're sure "Many hands make light work" are words meant to enlist your help when you'd rather be doing something else. You're positive "When in doubt, don't" is a phrase designed to take all the fun out of your life.
Fortunately, at any age, those words and phrases, unbidden, pop into your mind exactly when they are needed. Follow Me, Flo! (Candlewick Press, March 10, 2020) written and illustrated by Jarvis brings readers into a ducky daughter and daddy relationship. The cheerful words and illustrations depict a constant conflict between children and their parents with understanding.
There are certain things
that all little duckies must do every day:
Of those three things, eat, bathe and go to bed, Little Flo does not do even one. She devours desserts. She splashes through mud puddles. She is noticeably absent at bedtime.
Her Auntie Jenna has a new nest so Little Flo and Daddy Duck are going to visit. Daddy Duck insists Little Flo follow him. Daddy Duck turns his request into a song which he sings to Little Flo. Much to the bird's dismay, her father does not sing
and VERY LOUD.
Little Flo, determined to make her own music, sings an original follow me melody. Her voice is high and loud. Intent on her personal tune, she is unaware of a new threat. Roxy Fox is hungry. Where is Daddy Duck?
Little Flo is on the run. Words, singing words, come into her mind. She follows those words. Roxy Fox follows Little Flo. Look at that darling duckie daughter go! A series of surprises conclude this delightful tuneful tale.
On his first page Jarvis uses the storytelling technique of three to engage readers. He also makes the story more intimate by including a little bit more within parentheses. It's like he's whispering additional information to us. He uses this again at the end of the story to create a circle.
When Daddy Duck sings his desires for Little Flo to follow him, it's an open invitation for readers to participate in the story. In this musical interlude a rhythm is supplied in rhyming words and the use of opposites. Little Flo also uses opposites in her melody adding to the fun as well as generating suspense. Here are a few phrases from each of their songs.
"OK, Flo, but listen to me first.
We're off to somewhere new.
So stick to me like glue.
So Flo made up her own song.
"Follow, follow, follow me.
I'm little duckie
"Follow, follow, follow me.
A first glimpse of all the joy within the pages of this book is seen on the matching dust jacket and book case. These, as well as all the interior images, are rendered in
pencil, chalk, and paint and colored digitally.
The spring green canvas on the front is carried over on the other side of the spine, to the left. The colors in the rocks, Little Flo, Daddy Duck and the insects all complement each other. On the back, the left, Little Flo and Daddy Duck are gliding over the turquoise blue water of a pond. A bee and a fly are keeping them company. (I love that the ISBN here is showcased in a smaller version of the sign on the front of the jacket and case.)
The opening and closing endpapers are done in two tones of the palest lavender. Rocks and grasses are placed among pond water. Insects and a tiny bird share the scene. On the title page (with the publication information), the dedication is carved into a heart on a tree truck behind a singing Little Flo and Daddy Duck.
The illustrations range in size from a cluster of three or two on a single page, single page, edge to edge, or double page, edge to edge. Several times during the book, Jarvis supplies readers with a series of vertical panels to provide pacing and the passage of time. Once triangle-shaped panels are used.
These illustrations welcome readers to reach out and touch them. There is plenty of texture. The details focus on the setting, the wide-eyed expressions and the extra creatures in the world of Little Flo and Daddy Duck.
One of my many, many favorite illustrations spans two pages. It is when Little Flo and Daddy Duck are first starting their journey. It is an up-close perspective of the duo. Behind them is the forest, trees, bushes and flowers, in various pastel shades. A bright blue and red butterfly flutters nearby. Another blue and white polka-dotted butterfly rests on a series of vertical leaves on the left. Little Flo and Daddy Duck are swimming along in the pond. A bee follows them. A ladybug pauses on a rock. Musical notes in the same color as Daddy Duck appear above him. This visual is happy, happy, happy.
This book, Follow Me, Flo! written and illustrated by Jarvis is a merry celebration of the affection, and sometimes conflict, between a child and their parent. The inclusion of the songs within the story and lighthearted illustrations equals a superb storytime selection. You can expect to have requests to read this repeatedly. I highly recommend this for your personal and professional collections.
To learn more about Jarvis and his other wonderful work, please follow the link attached to his name to access his website. Jarvis has accounts on Instagram and Twitter. At the publisher's website and at Penguin Random House, you can view interior images. I've also created a Pinterest board with other duck books and a few crafts for storytime fun.