CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 16. . . . April 11, 2003
When the Troll got back to his hole again, he took out his pennies and hugged every sack. Each time he though about giving them up, he started to cry. But when he remembered how Quackadack Duck was caught in a cage, it made him cry even more.
What can a Troll do when a duck has imprinted on him? In Quackadack Duck, the Troll reluctantly raises the duck. Despite the Troll's best efforts to be a good "parent," his trollish nature would sometimes come out at night after the duck was asleep. This seems to work fine until the duck secretly follows the Troll and is captured by a merchant. When the Troll cannot free the duck, he retrieves his hoard of pennies to buy the duck's freedom. But, he returns too late. The duck is gone. Although the Troll believes he will never see Quackadack Duck again, the Troll uses his sacks of pennies to buy a duck for a little girl. This act of kindness makes the Troll feel better, and he feels even better when he learns that the Quackadack Duck escaped from the market to return home to the Troll's hole.
Reader's will be amused and satisfied by the basic goodness of the troll who "didn't like anyone, even himself, so he went around making trouble." Humorous text and illustrations portray the duck's imitation of the Troll. The shape of the duck's head feathers resembles the shape of the troll's hair. Expressive body language and features, variations of text font and the incorporation of a measure of music in conjunction with the text of the Troll's lullaby collaborate in the emotional communication in this story.
If you are looking for stories to illustrate self-esteem and friendship, this story would aptly fill the need. In general, children and their adults will enjoy this book's gentle message of kindness and love. Children will understand that sharing, even reluctant sharing, is the best way to make and keep friends. Sharing makes us feel good about ourselves. Sharing makes others happy while selfishness makes others and ourselves, lonely, sad, and perhaps, angry. A strength of this book is the message that becoming a caring and sharing being takes practice. The Troll practiced being kind by forcing himself to stop acting trollish or selfish when the duck was present. This is a strong message that we are responsible for our actions and reactions in the world. It is a message that can benefit individuals of all ages.
Denise Weir is a consultant with Manitoba Culture Heritage and Tourism, Public Library Services.
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