Ben likes to feed the ducks at the park. But today there is only one duck. So Ben feeds him and then decides to return home. Duck follows. No matter whether Ben goes under, over or around on the way home, Duck follows him. Even when he finally thinks he’s escaped the following Duck, Duck turns up at his house. Ben gives in and discovers that his normal activities are more fun when Duck joins in. When it’s bedtime, Duck goes home, but next morning Ben’s preparation for his trip to the park take into account his new friendship. Illustrations are in watercolour, pencil and sepia ink, and set the main protagonists in plenty of white space.
Ben seems content as a solitary figure, but sometimes friends know us better than we know ourselves. Duck is happy initially to eat all that Ben brings, but then follows Ben home as if recognising that the two could be friends. Ben’s initial resistance is overcome and the pair enjoy their time together. Ben and Duck is a gentle tale about the positive yet intangible benefits of friendship. Very few words are needed, just as very few are really needed in establishing and maintaining friendship. Recommended for pre-schoolers and early primary readers.
Ben and Duck, Sara Acton
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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