A little duck acts as a stand-in for the immigrant experience in this title about change, loss and redemption.
Despite a glaring design flaw in the too-small type chosen for the text, this story about a duck’s journey from one place to another applies a deft touch to a complex topic for young readers. The direct address of the text (“Maybe one day you have to leave”) juxtaposed with pictures of the duck packing belongings and being “blown so far that you forget who you are and where you come from” is quite effective in aligning readers with the bird. These scenes lead up to encounters with various animals who speak to the duck, baffling it, as it can’t understand what they say. Feelings of alienation and sadness overcome the duck, with digitally colored art bolstering the text’s description. Things look up when another duck, presumably native to the new land but an outsider in another way, befriends the protagonist by offering validation and comfort. This turning point ultimately affirms the need for a strong sense of self to precede the development of stability in a new place and community.
An effective story, unique in its treatment of the immigrant or refugee experience as it addresses a younger audience than might be typical for this topic. (Picture book. 3-7)