Friday, October 10, 2008

The Little Wood Duck by Brian Wildsmith

The Little Wood Duck is one of my favorite of Brian Wildsmith's many lovely picturebooks. The animals are perfect, the striped chipmunks, squirrels, speckled mother duck, and and her fuzzy ducklings swirl through a world of greens and browns with flowers like pompoms popping up beside them and cut-paper butterflies shimmering through the air.

But the writing....agh. Summary: Mother duck is very proud when all six of her eggs hatch. But one duckling only swims in circles. Everyone teases him. An owl flies by and points out that he has one foot larger than the other, causing him swim in circles. "About a week later" a hungry fox appears to attack the ducklings. They all hide in the reeds, except the youngest wood duck (Did I mention he was the youngest?). As he continues to swim in circles, the fox grows dizzy and "falls flat on his back." The ducklings are saved and they never tease their youngest brother again.

Um. Why doesn't his mother defend him when not only his siblings but every other animal is teasing him? A week goes by after the owl defends him (and why didn't the owl eat him?) and before the fox comes...did the owl's defense make the others stop teasing him? If not, then why do we need the whole owl portion of the plot (other than to see Wildsmith's cool owl - like an elaborately painted fence post). And the language is just....blah. "Young fellow?"

I would add this book to my pile of picturebooks from which I cut the text and retain the illustrations for artwork to adorn my walls.

Ooh, and the best picture is the spread with the lonely little duck, water swirling in circles around him, next to a stand of reeds bespangled with butterflies and tiny birds.

Verdict: Lovely illustrations, blah text. If you have fans of Wildsmith, it's worth getting this one, otherwise it's a good book for a private collection.

ISBN: 978-1595720429; Published January 2007 by Star Bright Books (reprint edition); Borrowed from the library; Added to my personal wishlist

1 comment:

Nancy Arruda said...

That's funny that you mention loving the artwork and discarding the text. I have books I've only read once but look at the illustrations often : )