We read it again this week and it seemed apt, given the sad times we live in.
The book, by Sarah Verroken, a graphic designer, plays on the theme of the need we all have for colour in our lives.
This book tells the story of a duck who is sad because his world is black and white. The soft little red friend (who looks like a cross between a jelly bean baby and a gingerbread man) he holds is called Dudley.
For some reason this image of black rain and a tiny pointless leaf shelter really made me think of the terrible situation the Haitians are facing today.
Duck is not prepared to put up with an entirely unsatisfactory black and white world. Would you? He goes exploring and eventually page by page the sun comes out and colour comes to his world.
The illustrations in this book are so textural and interesting. I assume some kind of woodblock or lino cut technique has been used.
I don't know what it is about ducks and children's books. I have a number of duck based children's books which are pretty glum. It's true they generally come good at the end, but they so often have a sad overtone. And yet you never see a depressing book about a sad pig who lives in a black and white world or can't walk or has no family do you?
To demonstrate the point, I present Exhibit 1:
This famous story is about Ping the Duck who lives happily on the Yangtse River until one day he is captured by fisherman. Not just any fisherman. The ones who put metal rings around the birds (cormorants, I think) they keep on the river and force them to dive for fish (the rings stop them swallowing the fish). When I was little this was my first introduction to boats called junks, and cruelty to animals.
Exhibit 2 is a book about a wooden duck with a pole through his back who lives on a merry-go-round. All this duck wants is to fly and that wooden pole is an obvious impediment.
He then meets a real baby duck whom he raises himself. One day the baby duck grows up and leaves the wooden duck. The wooden duck is sad, and things only get better when the real duck returns to give wooden duck a real ride in the sky. Then the baby duck leaves again for good. But merry-go-round duck is happy, as his one dream (to fly) has been fulfilled.
Exhibit 3 - the Sissy Duckling is about a duck who would rather do so called girly things like baking, puppet shows and playing quietly. He is mercilessly teased for this. I know that many people would agree that this is the book to buy if your son is remotely 'different'.
And finally, for just plain out weirdness, you cannot go past Dr Suess' I wish that I had Duck Feet.
For me, if I could have any animal bit attached to me it certainly would not be duck feet. It would be feathery wings. Or even sharp talons. .....