Duck by Meg McKinley, illustrated by Nathaniel Eckstrom
As well as being wonderful for individual reading, Duck would be the perfect picture book for reading to a group of small children. It tells the story of a little duck who is trying to warn his farmyard friends of an approaching cyclone. When he shouts duck though, the horse, cow, pig and sheep misunderstand him and argue –‘You’re mistaken, my friend. You are a duck. I am a horse’-. As the duck becomes more and more upset and frenzied in his attempts to warn his friends of the danger, they became more argumentative and angry-‘Stop! Not one more word!-You are the rudest duck I have ever met-'
At the same time as the duck is trying to make his friends listen to his warning, the illustrations are showing the approaching danger. Objects are falling from the sky, clouds are gathering, there are signs of the wind becoming more and more fierce. Duck finally finds another word. Run.
The illustrations are wonderful with the personalities and emotions of the animals clearly portrayed. I loved that at the end of the book the fallen down sign says ‘Kansas’.
I can imagine children responding very enthusiastically to this story as they see and understand Duck’s predicament and I can imagine them joining in with the main repeated word, Duck. It also effectively demonstrates miscommunication and would make a great starting point for conversations about speaking and listening.
Reviewer: Paddy Richardson