Review Blog

Jun 13 2018

Dude by Aaron Reynolds

cover image

Ill. by Dan Santat. Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780734418784
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Sharks, Friendship, Surfing, Humour, Cautionary tale. To all those intending to read this hilarious book out loud, you will need to practice saying 'dude' in a variety of different ways with different intonations, expressions and meanings. From the first 'dude' where platypus and his friend the beaver, meet on the beach, run to the water's edge with their surf boards held up over their heads and paddle out into the ocean, to the last 'dude' where the two have now befriended a shark and the trio is sitting on the beach in their board shorts, eating their ice creams and staring contentedly out into the ocean, laughter will explode with each rendering of the word.
The two friends initially encounter the shark with trepidation, the 'dude' at first said very quietly with a question at the end of the word, while over the page, the word takes up the double page as the pair hightails it for shore. But things happen to make them less fearful of the predator, and all ends happily as the three become friends, surfing the waves together.
This very funny look at friendship is set against the surfing world which may not be known to many younger readers. Santat's wonderful illustrations bring this world to the reader, with its ice cream shack on the beach, wave types, the array of very different board shorts, along with very different participants and boards. And a few subtle hints occur in the illustrations making the reader aware of some of the shortcomings of being near the sea. This is a wonderfully funny tale, all centered incredibly on one word, with plenty to look at to wonder at, to learn and enjoy, and many people will be reading and rereading this story to a range of listeners who will try it out for themselves, keeping their friends happily engaged.
Fran Knight

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