Parents who choose to discuss death with their young children may feel this odd import is an excellent discussion starter (if they don't find it peculiar and macabre).
Duck is going about her daily activities when she notices the presence of Death. Personified as a miniature Grim Reaper, complete with long robe and grinning skull, Death initially frightens Duck, who wonders if Death has come to “fetch” her. The (not so) reassuring response? “Oh, I’ve been close by all your life—just in case.” Eventually Death seems so familiar that Duck even reaches out to warm him after a dip in the pond. Touched but undeterred, Death waits patiently until one day Duck succumbs, whereupon he launches her (and the titular tulip) out upon the “great river.” Erlbruch’s text, in Chidgey's translation, offers plenty to talk about, with touches of gentle humor as well as some briskly summarized views of the afterlife. His illustrations likewise repay careful attention despite their apparent simplicity. Created primarily in subdued shades, they appear to incorporate drawing, painting, etching and collage, and they deftly convey both action and personality with a few lines.Adults looking for a unique, thoughtful perspective on a serious subject should definitely consider this—but be sure to preview it before sharing. (Picture book. 6-8)