An illustrated children’s story about how author/illustrator Williams and her husband taught a duckling to rejoin its peers, based on her previous account, which was aimed at an adult audience (Super Duck: A True Story, 1986).
The story begins with the narrator duckling’s parents looking for a place to hatch their eggs. They choose a boathouse owned by Jane and Don, who soon become central figures in the young duck’s life. (Williams describes the mother duck’s egg gestation in scientific terms but without it ever feeling too technical.) When the duckling begins to crack out of her shell, she pecks the shell so hard it rolls from the nest. Exhausted, she falls asleep midhatching; when she wakes, her mother and siblings are already gone. Luckily, Jane finds her, and Don helps her break through the rest of her tough shell; they become the duckling’s new parents. They name her “Super Duck” and eventually help her get free of a piece of shell that’s still stuck to her wing, days after hatching. Her early days are quite domestic, complete with a teddy bear and human cuddles, but Jane and Don soon start transitioning Super Duck to the outdoors. They protect her from predators but also try to introduce her to the local duck population. As Super Duck learns the things that normal ducks do, so do readers, and although children may like to imagine that Super Duck would stay with Jane and Don, they’ll also cheer when she starts to live the life of a normal duck in the wild. Williams’ black-and-white illustrations are wonderfully realistic, and the choice of the duck as the narrator gives this naturalist’s story a more childlike voice. Budding nature lovers may also find this book to be an effective bridge to other titles about animal rescue and bird rehabilitation.
A charming true story that captures the connection between people and nature through gorgeous images and an engaging narrative voice.