This is a story book designed to be read to children who are either Looked After or who are being considered for adoption. Dennis, the main character, is a duckling who lives with his sister with another family of ducks as his parents were unable to look after the ducklings themselves. Dennis and his sister miss their parents and their own pond but they also like the family they are living with. They are a bit worried about what will happen to them.The book talks about who makes the final decisions about where the ducklings will live and with whom. The adults go to speak to a clever owl who sends a pigeon to find out what everyone wants to happen. As in life, not everyone wants the same thing so the clever owl has to make decisions on behalf of them all.
The book relates this to the situation of a child who may be asked what they want for their future and, where there is a problem in making a decision, the judge will take on the role of decision maker.
This is a book that would be helpful for children who are experiencing something similar in their lives. The fact that their parents are unable or unwilling to care for them is an issue for a number of children.
Although we do not know the actual result of the decision, it gives an insight into the process leading to fostering and adoption and how children are moved on. The language is clear and straightforward and the analogies of helpful pigeon and clever owl will make sense to young children.
I would recommend this book for children who are Looked After as an introduction to the changes that may occur in their lives soon.
Sambrooks, Paul (2011) Dennis and the Big Decisions
ISBN: 978 1 907585 173