When Claudie’s mum went to hospital to have the new baby, Nana came to stay with Claudie.
Nana looked after Claudie very well but she didn’t know much about Ducky. Ducky was Claudie’s special toy. She carried him around all day and at bedtime she made a little nest with her arms and Ducky slept in it.
Ducky’s Nest tells the story of what happens when Ducky is inadvertently left at the park after a walk with Claudie and Nana. But it begins before that, with Mum going off to hospital to have a baby. Nana can do most things, but because she’s not Mum, Ducky spends a night in the park. While Claudie and Nana go home, Ducky is cared for by the residents of the park. They try their best to find his home, but his descriptions evoke other houses, other homes, other nests, other locations around the city. Finally, he sleeps in a nest made by the wild ducks at the park. It is there he is found next morning by Claudie. By this time, the family has altered forever with the arrival of the new baby. Illustrations are in pen, ink and watercolour.
Ducky’s Nest was first published in 1999 and is reproduced here in paperback with end notes by original publisher Mark McLeod. Also here are bios and comments from Gillian Rubenstein and Terry Denton. Ducky’s Nest is a story within a story. Claudie has been an only child and now is to have a new sibling, with all the changes that entails. Ducky, who has nested nightly in Claudie’s arm spends a night with the caring wild ducks, seeing for the first time, a much bigger world than he’s previously known. The link is the nest. Melbourne-dwellers will recognise much of the landscape Ducky experiences. Very subtly, the reader is introduced and supported through the changes that a new baby can bring. The trauma of separation is ameliorated by the support of other ‘family’, until they are reunited in their new configuration. Along the way, there are lovely interpretations of the way others may see what we describe. A lovely picture book, back in print. Recommended for pre-school and early years readers.
Ducky’s Nest , Gillian Rubinstein ill Terry Denton Walker Books Australia 2013 ISBN: 9781922077721
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
Available from good bookstores or online.