Meet Mr Darcy and the delightful Lizzy. No, we are not in the pages of an Austen novel, though we are in Pemberley Park, where Mr Darcy, a particularly dapper duck (observe his incredible top hat), longs to be able to dance. He would love to join Lizzy and her sisters as they circle the Maypole. Can Maria the mouse, Bingley the horse and Caroline the cow help?
Peter Carnavas’ illustrations dance off the page as Mr Darcy learns to dance himself. The energy of his lines combines with his use of colour to great effect. There is nothing heavy to detract from this light-hearted story with its tongue-in-cheek reference to the Austen classic. No explanation is required – the absurd height of Mr Darcy’s hat is enough to set the tone, as are the spectacles perched on his beak. The text by Alex Field is straightforward and simple, providing just enough of the story to complement the illustrations, giving them space. This is a picture book where author and illustrator really do work together to create what is a thoroughly enjoyable story that will engage not just the young audience at whom it is aimed, but the adults who will be presenting it whether at storytime or before bed. This is a book that is fun.