Duck’s Backyard by Ulrich Hub, illustrated by Jörg Mühle, translated from the German by Helena Kirkby, Gecko Press, c2021, 2022. 9781776574735
Genre: Animal fiction
What did you like about the book? Duck is lonely. She has a wonky leg and lives in a backyard where the sun never shines. She has no visitors. Her only ray of sunshine is a small supply of peanuts which she would like to share with someone. And then a chicken shows up wearing dark glasses. She is blind. The duck greets her “It’s gratifying to meet someone worse off than myself.” But the chicken is not at all sorry to be blind. She lists all the positive reasons as to why it is good. She decides that the duck is perfect to guide her on her journey “to a place where all our secret wishes come true.” Very, very reluctantly the duck agrees. The chicken confesses that her secret wish is “to enjoy myself and have everyone dance to my tune.” The duck will not tell hers. They enter a dark scary forest full of monsters. They fight a lot. The chicken tries to fly. (The duck is afraid to even try.) They cross a ravine on a rickety plank. They climb a high mountain covered in snow. The chicken keeps forgetting her wish…The duck discovers that flying is easy… And then the surprise ending.
I love this story. It is silly and fun with the most wonderful illustrations. Duck and chicken appear as cartoon figures, although realistic, in full color on nearly every page mostly without background. The author/illustrator are in perfect sync.
Anything you did not like about the book? Not a thing.
To whom would you recommend this book? This story possesses a unique charm that is shared by such authors as Catharina Valckx, Frida Nilsson, Ulf Stark and Constanze Spengler.
Who should buy this book? Public and lower elementary school grade libraries
Where would you shelve it? J Fiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: August 10, 2022