Author: Allel Kheroufi
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Canadian playwright Allel Kheroufi has written a four part play for children, promoting the concept to always go after your dreams, even if they tend to be unrealistic or challenged by others.
This one hundred and ninety two page paperback book has a front cover depicting a group of children standing on the earth looking toward a flying kite in space, although it does not relate to the actual story. The back cover has a solid black background with yellow and white worded paragraphs about the story and an author biography including a photograph. There is a short dedication and a forward. Only one capitalization error was noticed (page 10).
Each of the four parts of the play has a helpful paragraph page about what happens in the upcoming part along with a recap that includes a brief synopsis of each part so far, a character list, setting and prologue. This is very helpful for the reader to be reminded of each section if there are breaks in reading. There are acts and scenes under each of the four parts.
The story is of Homer Duck, a duckling whose only dream is to fly and touch the sun. With his mother’s encouragement, he leaves the security of Lake Serenity and finds himself in Barnyardia, governed by King Mortimer. There he befriends Sylvester the cat and others who mock him for wanting to fly. Determined and with few feathers in his wings, he takes flight, only to encounter obstacles of Nature. After witnessing an eclipse, Homer flies back to Barnyardia all grown up and helps his friends convince the King to move to Lake Serenity. Homer and his friends then turn the city into a space center, build a rocket and Sylvester flies it to see if there is life on other planets.
At times the dialogue gets repetitive, especially when the forces of Nature interact and argue, when the kingdom animals banter or when Sylvester insists he wants to fly. However, Kheroufi does a good job creating characters that care about one another and help Homer achieve his main goal.
This play is cute yet educational as it not only explains effects of wind, clouds, tornadoes, eclipses and the planets in a charming way, but it teaches that determination, perseverance and encouragement can help one achieve his or her goal. If the dialogue could be shortened for time restrictions, this would be a great children’s play production.
Posted June 2012: