Duckling Runs Away
Allen & Unwin, 2023
32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
Duckling is angry with her mother and declares she is running away and “never coming back. Never, ever.” And off she goes – past the chickens, puppies, kittens, piglets, lambs and bunnies who are all playing games together and having fun. Even though they invite her to join them, she refuses saying that she is running away. But as she is running, day turns to dusk and not only is Duckling unsure of the dark but she can’t remember why she ran away in the first place! She may not know where she is but she knows where she needs to be…
There are a handful of authors whose name on the cover of a book is a guarantee of a great story, and Margaret Wild is one of those. Together with Vivienne To, (the team who gave us The Sloth Who Came to Stay) she has created an engaging, familiar story that you can imagine evolved from a foot-stamping, tantrum-throwing toddler saying exactly the same thing. Not only has Wild captured such a common occurrence in the lives of our little ones and turned it into a story that resonates but doesn’t threaten, To’s soft illustrations add to the atmosphere, particularly as the sun starts to sink and we wonder what Duckling will do when night falls. There is as much atmosphere and drama in the illustrations as there is in Duckling’s announcement!
While there is a subtle underlying theme of unconditional love between parent and child, this is a pure celebration of story reflecting real life that will endear our youngest readers to the printed word and strengthen those special bonds they have.