________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 17 . . . . April 28, 2000

cover One Duck.

Hazel Hutchins. Illustrated by Ruth Ohi.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1999.
32 pp., cloth & pbk., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-560-X (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-561-X (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Ducks-Juvenile fiction.
Farm life-Juvenile fiction.
Compassion-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.
Review by Helen Arkos.

**** /4


"One duck
still sits
She see, she hears, she feels
the great machinery moving
closer; ever closer
and still she sits
feels the pull of the eggs beneath her
feels the danger moving down upon her.
Eggs! Danger! Eggs! Danger!
heartbeat upon heartbeat
no way to save the eggs
no way but to save herself.
She flies!"
image One Duck is the simple story of a duck waiting for her clutch of eggs to hatch at the same time that a farmer begins to plough up his fields in preparation for the new planting. Tension increases as the tractor makes several passes in the field, each time coming closer to where the mother duck is on her nest. She flies only when she has to escape to save her own life. The farmer sees her and knows her secret. He finds her nest and carefully moves it out of harm's way. The next day, he and his small children are rewarded with the sight of mama duck followed by her new family of twelve making their way to the safety of a pond.

Both farmer and duck are in the same position. Each one is trying to look after and provide for his/her young. The farmer is working quickly to try to get his ploughing done before the threatening storm clouds arrive. Nevertheless, he takes time out to move the nest to safety. It is a poignant moment when "he shakes his head at the foolishness of ducks. He checks the darkening sky and shakes his head at the foolishness of farmers."

One Duck is tale of human compassion for a fellow creature. The farmer's one small act makes all the difference to this "one duck." It is also an excellent resource for primary classes to accompany their study of birds. Many facts about bird life and habits can be gleaned through a discussion of the story.

Ohi's artwork is rendered in watercolour with pen and ink detailing. She captures the golden richness of the Canadian prairie and manages to give her duck that slightly quizzical look that ducks always have. Most of the story is illustrated, appropriately enough, from a duck's eye view of the world.

Highly Recommended.

Helen Arkos is the teacher-librarian at John Pritchard, a K-9 school in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364