Cover Image

Little Chicken Duck by T. Beiser

Beiser.Tim. Little Chicken Duck. Illus. Bill Slavin. Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2013. Print. 

When a duckling refuses a frog’s invitation to jump into the water and paddle, the frog introduces her to the other birds and asks them to reassure her. One by one they confess the fears they faced when they were young. The owl mistook fireflies for goblins’ eyes, the lark was afraid to sing, and the robin hated getting wet. Each bird they meet tells a tale of overcoming their fears until the duckling is playing happily in the water. But what, the duckling wonders, made the frog afraid when he was a pollywog? The frog admits it was ducks.

Little Chicken Duck is an amusing introduction to facing one’s fears. The rhymes are strong and designed to allow young voices to join in while an adult reads aloud, and Bill Slavin’s illustrations are, as always, bold, brightly coloured and inviting. The animals’ fears are portrayed with character and humour. My favourite, an American bald eagle, dramatically pronounces his fear of thunderstorms as if he were holding forth on centre stage: with his beak powerfully declaiming, his wing thrust out for emphasis and with pointed claws. A child may not catch all of what Slavin is portraying, but then something must be left to trigger an adult’s sense of humour as they read.

Recommended stars: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Andrea Deakin

Andrea has been involved with books since she was class librarian in Primary School, Student Librarian in Grammar School, student librarian for the Education Faculty when she was a student, and school librarian in schools both in England and in Canada, except for the first two years in Canada where she arrived in 1959. When she retired from teaching ( English and History) she was invited to review in February 1971, and continued to review for press, radio, and finally on the Internet (Deakin Newsletter from Okanagan College) until she retired in 2011. Forty years seemed sufficient- although she still cannot keep her nose out of good children's and YA fare.