Anthropomorphic animals enact something of a frenzy of giving and receiving.
Little Duck is having a fine time splashing in his pool, but his friend Beaver didn’t bring her hat, and now the sun hurts her. Little Duck offers Beaver his nest as a hat. Squirrel is hungry—“I’ve lost my nuts!” she cries—so Little Duck gives her his bread sandwich. Bear, who laments his empty water jug, is comforted when Little Duck allows him to drink up the whole pool. Little Duck even pulls out a feather so Mouse can write down a poem he just thought of. Little Duck now realizes he doesn’t have anything left at all and starts to cry. His friends rally round, praising his “big heart,” and Otter brings a bathtub full of water while Rabbit scurries over with cookies. An awkwardly phrased blurb on the back cover does nothing to clarify this clunky parable. The pictures are bright, with watercolor effects and very childlike animals, but they are not appealing enough to counteract the opacity of the text.
Very little fun and lots of preaching do not make a good story. If the lesson is to give away all your stuff until you have nothing left, what child wants to learn that? (Picture book. 4-7)