Jasper, a young duck, learns that perseverance can overcome a disability in the picture book Jasper Saves The Day.
Looking for adventure one day, Jasper forgets his mother’s warnings about swimming away from shore and is attacked by a large fish. Jasper escapes, but the fish eats his foot, and Jasper must re-learn how to walk, swim, and fly before the flock migrates for the winter.
Over 60 days, Jasper’s mother trains him intensively, and despite the difficulties, Jasper finally succeeds. It’s not a full success, since Jasper tends to swim and fly in circles, but that detail comes in handy when he spots hunters one day and leads the flock to safety. The story concludes with Jasper praised as a hero, having overcome his disability through hard work and determination.
Author Lily is afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, and thus, probably knows about overcoming adversity. The book’s message is inspirational, not just to the disabled but to anyone who aspires to a difficult goal.
The illustrations are colorful and lively. Unfortunately, they are concentrated toward the beginning and end of the story. Once Jasper’s training begins in earnest, the pictures dwindle, creating pages with dense text that may be a turn-off for young audiences.
The book is hampered by distracting grammatical errors, most notably the use of periods instead of commas throughout, as when Jasper’s mother tries to clear away the gawkers after his injury: “As he opened his eyes, he heard his momma say, ‘Ok everybody, I want you all to go back to what you were doing.’ [sic] She said as she waved her wings toward the flock of ducks.”
Closer attention to detail would have given the book a more solid footing from which to fly. As is, Jasper Saves The Day will provide uplift for youngsters, but it doesn’t quite achieve the height it might have with more polish.
Also available as an ebook.