Friday, April 22, 2011

Duck for a Day by Meg McKinlay

“Mrs Melvino didn’t look like any teacher Abby had ever seen. She had wild, curly hair and rectangular glasses with purple frames. She was wearing a long, floating skirt with funny little bells hanging off it, and dangly earrings that jingled when she moved, like the wind chimes Mum hung up out the back.”

Mrs Melvino also arrives with a strange bag that turns out to be a small cage covered with a spotty cloth and which contains a very special duck called Max. As with any class pet children in the class might be allowed to take Max home but there is a huge list of requirements to be met before this can happen. Abby is desperate. Her mum will not allow her to have pets of any kind but one compromise is that Abby can bring home a class pet because it is temporary.

Abby sets about creating a project to document how her backyard is the perfect environment for Max. She creates a built-in pond with side mud bath, she buys duck food pellets, her yard is calm and secure and there are strawberries. Of course there are disasters on the horizon. Living next door to Abby is Noah and he too is desperate to bring Max home.

The line drawings in this little gem are perfect and the occasional use of different fonts adds to the reading without taking over. There is just enough tension in the last six chapters to keep the pace of this short book moving right to the end.

Duck for a Day is on the CBCA short list for Younger Readers. I am not sure it will be the winner but it is a fun little book that I will enjoy sharing with our younger Primary and Infants readers. When we do this we will probably revisit Rex by Ursula Dubosarsky which follows the same theme of taking home a special class pet.

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