Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ducky's nest by Gillian Rubinstein illustrated by Terry Denton

In this blog I talk quite often about books that have long been out of print.  For today I have a good news story.  Ducky's nest was first published in 1999 and our old school copy is in a very poor state so I was excited to see a new copy in a bookshop recently. This book is a true gem. In fact Walker have reprinted a good selection of their past titles including the wonderful Murgatroyd's Garden by Judy Zavos and Louise builds a House and the partner book Louise builds a boat by Louise Pfanner.

As a special addition, the back of Ducky's nest has extra information about this book from the original publisher Mark MacLeod along with Gillian Rubinstein and Terry Denton. These will add to your understanding of the themes in this book and the creative process.

Ducky is a special toy loved by Claudie.  Ducky goes everywhere with Claudie during the day and is an essential companion at night.  Luckily mum knows all the hiding places and so Claudie never goes to bed without her precious friend.  Grandma, however, does not know that Ducky is regularly misplaced.  A new baby is coming and grandma has come to look after Claudie.  They enjoy a lovely outing to the park but Ducky is left behind. "She put Ducky in the reeds by the water's edge so he could watch the ducks as they paddled across the lake to eat the bread."

Living in the lake are a group of ducks.  Once they establish Ducky is a toy and not a tadpole they decide to help him find his way back home.  All through the night the new friends fly Ducky across the city.  Terry Denton gives the reader a splendid panorama of the surrounding fields and landmarks. Ducky's home cannot be found so the ducks go back to the park.

"Each of the birds took a feather of down and they made Ducky a cost nest and tucked him in it. The black duck told him stories about famous ducks of history until he fell asleep."

This is a simple sentence and yet it shows such deep love and comfort. There are many nests in this story including the one that will now be made for the new baby.

Here is a set of teaching notes.  This is a book to treasure and own.  I am including the original cover.  After reading this book make sure you look for one of my all time favourite books Felix and Alexander also illustrated by Terry Denton.  You might also enjoy Ruby by Alison Lester.

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