31 Aug 2009
Make Way For Ducks
Farmer Schulz lived on the beautiful Onkaparinga River in South Australia. He was a busy man and his farm was a busy place. There were cows and geese and goats and vegetables and fruit trees and cellars full of German sausage and dishes of scalded cream. And in the yard at the back of the house there were more than fifty ducks.
Farmer Schulz's ducks were the loveliest ducks in the whole world.
Every morning after breakfast Farmer Schultz would open the backyard gate so that the ducks could go down the drive and across the road and down to the Onkaparinga River. The cars would stop for the ducks because everyone knew that the ducks had right of way.
Then the city beyond the hills began to grow and along with it came the traffic.
Sometimes they didn't even stop for ducks!
Farmer Schulz called the family together to think of a solution.
The Schulz's come up with many solutions - the bridge is one of them. Will it work? Will the ducks get across the road and into the water or do the family finally give up on the ducks?
You'll need to buy the book to find out, won't you?
It's called Farmer Schulz's Ducks and it's by Colin Thiele. It is out of print (of course!) but is available here and here. (It is difficult to find in secondhand bookshops although I found one eventually.) The book was shortlisted by the Children’s Book Council of Australia for the 1987 award as Book of the Year for Younger Readers.
Colin Thiele's books are often written for older kids. With this book I've had children as young as three hanging on every word. It is truly delightful.
Robert McCloskey's Make Way For Ducklings is a wonderful contrast to this book. McCloskey's Caldecott Medal winning book tells the story of a family of ducks who have to cross a busy Boston street.
The two work wonderfully together.
Ruth Marshall has a book study on Farmer Schulz's Ducks that you might like to check out. You can read more from me on Colin Thiele too, if you want to.