Publisher’s Intended Audience: Preschool/younger elementary. Message is important for all ages but text is most appropriate for a young audience.
Summary: Yes We Can tells the story of Little Roo and his friends, Country Mouse and Quacker Duck. One windy fall day, the three friends are resting after starting work on a huge leaf pile. Then Little Roo tells Quacker Duck, “I know something you can’t do. You can’t jump over a big, big log.” Of course, Quacker Duck says he most certainly can but as hard as he tries, ducks simply aren’t made for jumping over logs. Little Roo and Country Mouse laugh at Quacker Duck so he gets upset and challenges them to something he knows they “can’t do.” This goes on and on until all three friends are unhappy and not speaking to one another. Little Roo’s mother comes over to see what is wrong, reminds them that no one likes to be laughed at and encourages them to show each other what they can do! They then spend the rest of the day encouraging one another and treating each other like true friends.
Literary elements at work in the story (Genre, setting, characterization, plot, theme, point of view, style): The brightly-colored, full-page illustrations in this picture book are absolutely beautiful and do a wonderful job of enhancing the story. They move in different directions, are placed differently on each page and keep the reader engaged in the story. The text itself is printed to emphasize certain words and illustrate certain concepts (for example, the word “floating” is printed to look like each letter is floating) and this adds to the enjoyment of reading the book aloud with a child.
The story, told by a third-person narrator, is set outdoors on a beautiful fall day as three friends gather to play. Unfortunately, instead of playing and enjoying one another, the friends begin setting one another up for failure and then laugh at each other. They hurt each other’s feelings and discover that no one likes to be laughed at or made fun of and decide it is more fun to support one another and have fun.
The text is light-hearted and casual and young children will readily understand the story and its message without being beaten over the head with it.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability: One of the key takeaways from this book is that everyone has different abilities and gifts and no one gift is better than another. Just because you can do something that someone else cannot does not mean you are better than that person or have the right to laugh at or make fun of them.
Scripture: Matthew 22:36-40, John 13:34, Romans 14:13, Romans 15:7
Theology: Jesus tells us that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. But we must also love one another as Jesus loved us…without judgment and without putting stumbling blocks before one another. We must encourage one another and accept one another, glorifying God by living in harmony and honoring the gifts we have been given.
Faith Talk Questions (Intended for use with younger children):
- How do Little Roo, the Country Mouse, and Quacker Duck get along at the beginning of the story?
- What happens when they stop building their leaf pile and rest?
- Why do you think Little Roo told Quacker Duck he couldn’t jump over the log?
- What happened when Quacker Duck fell down? How do you think he felt when his friends laughed at him?
- Why did Quacker Duck tell the Country Mouse he couldn’t float in a puddle?
- Instead of finishing their leaf pile, the three friends ended up mad at each other, not talking and not playing. Have you ever had a fight with a friend? How did it make you feel? Why were these three friends so unhappy?
- Has anyone ever made fun of you? Have you ever made fun of someone else? Why do you think people make fun of each other sometimes?
- At the end of the story, Little Roo, Country Mouse and Quacker Duck are having fun again. What are they doing?
- Is it hard to encourage and support other people? Try to think of some ways you could encourage your friends and family members.
Review prepared by Erin Mills, MACE, Entering Cohort – 2007
Yes We Can by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.