Duck for a day by Meg McKinlay

cover image

Ill. by Leila Rudge. Walker Books, 2010. ISBN 9781921529283.
96p, Middle primary. Highly recommended. When the new teacher arrives with a class pet the kids are agog, because it is not the expected cat or rat or mouse, but a duck. They fall over themselves to see whether this pet is allowed home to stay overnight as all the other class pets have been, but are thrown by the number of conditions the teacher imposes on allowing her duck, Max, stay over. Neighbours Abby and Noah compete for the privilege with some very funny results. At first they try to build a pool each, and then conform to the other conditions of a mud bath and strong fencing. But Abby is the first to have Max stay and when she finds him missing in the morning, both children work together to find him.
A delightful story of sharing and working together, this book is a charming response to a scenario often seen in primary classrooms. The joy of the class pet is reflected in the wonderful illustrations and the whole book is joyous to read. The last line, 'It was just a few small hops, after all' will engender much discussion, as it reflects the idea of breaking down barriers, of finding friends through working together, both on a small scale, and then of taking a small step for mankind, looking at the world view. This is a wonderful book, rich and multilayered, one which would be a fabulous read aloud in a primary school, if it is on the shelf long enough for a teacher to find.
Fran Knight