Mr Darcy, as most readers will know, was one of the main characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The story has been popular for many, many years appearing on television and in film. It has even been treated to a zombie makeover in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And here is a picture book version of the story, with Darcy as a duck. He is a pleasant enough character, but distant and a bit proud. He ignores an invitation to tea from Lizzy, because living as she does in a quite small park, she is unlikely to provide much company. Why then does he keep tripping and falling and crashing when she is near? He is polite but quite contained. But something changes his mind. Illustrations are Peter Carnavas’ trademark pencil-outlined gentle watercolours set in lots of white space.
Mr Darcy might seem an odd subject for a picture book, but it is really a story about learning not to judge by appearances. Lizzy’s manners initially fail to break through Darcy’s reserve, but she persists rather than giving up. Darcy’s friends Bingley and Caroline step in when Darcy’s insistence that he’s fine threatens to cause him harm, but only after Lizzy has come up with a plan. Lizzy is resolute but not pushy and Darcy eventually has to overcome his prejudices. This is a sweet picture book, that will also introduce new readers to a classic story. Recommended for pre-school and early school-age children.
Mr Darcy, Alex Field & Peter Carnavas
New Frontier Publishing 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author