Woody’s Leap of Faith
Julie Boden Schmidt tells the charming tale of Woody the wood duckling in her book, Woody’s Leap of Faith. Woody, unlike his siblings, hatched from his egg quite literally terrified of entering his new world. After trying to retreat back into his egg for fear of the unknown, his mother gently coaxes him out and promises to take care of him. Overwhelmed by Buzz, his bold sunglasses-wearing brother, and Zoey, his tutu-wearing ballerina sister, Woody wants nothing more than to return to the quiet peacefulness of his egg.
The next morning, the young ducklings learn the comfort of their nest is short-lived; today is the day they must jump from their nest and move to a new one. Buzz, loud and always eager for adventure, is thrilled. Zoe, although not as loud as Buzz, is equally happy to have a go at flight. Woody, on the other hand, cannot think of a worst task and blatantly refuses to jump. Absolutely horrified by the thought of failing, Woody cannot bring himself to be anything but paralyzed in fear.
As the ducklings begin to warm up for flight, Woody believes he will pass out in sheer terror. His dad tells him that he must jump, but the pressure from his family to succeed is making it all the worse for Woody. As he watches Buzz jump out, he fearlessly does backflips on his way down, remarking how easy and fun it was. Zoe follows; although hesitant at first, she gracefully lands, performing ballerina spins and twirls as she touches the ground. Woody, the last duckling left, must face his fear if he is to be with his family or be left behind.
Overall, I thought this book was an adorable story capturing perfectly the importance of courage. It shows young readers the benefits of bravery, and how more often than not, troubles are not as bad as they at first seem. Additionally, this book had absolutely stunning illustrations. The large, beautifully drawn images had so much detail and life to them. I also loved the formatting; with feather details on each page and boxes around the words, the book is easy to follow and fun for young readers. I would recommend this story to all readers, but especially to those in the four to nine age group. I think readers of this age, whether being read to by a caretaker or reading solo, would appreciate this book the most.
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