'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 6 March 2023

Review: Duckling Runs Away

When Duckling gets mad at her mama, she decides to run away. 

She passes all her farmyard friends, who all invite her to play. But Duckling is on a mission and won’t be distracted. 

She’s running away forever and ever, and nothing will change her mind.


...it gets darker and darker… and she kind of can’t remember why she was running away in the first place.

Duckling Runs Away is an adorable story from two of Australia’s greats — Margaret Wild and Vivienne To. It’s a charming story, with loads of repetition, so kids will really get into the flow of the words as they are read aloud.

There’s gentle humour in this one, too. As confident Mama Duck waves Duckling farewell, parents will give a little chuckle. And as determined duckling turns down every offer to play, kids will giggle at her stubborn expressions — her mask of defiance. But watch her expressions as the pages turn, because they do start to change. As the day continues and the sun falls in the sky, Duckling’s expressions become a mirror for her emotions.

As always, To’s illustrations are gorgeous. Soft, textured and fun, they never fail to delight. From bright and light at the beginning of the day, through a reddish sunset and into the darker shades of purple and blue, the use of colours to convey time and mood and emotion is stunning.

And beneath the delightful words and gorgeous illustrations, there are also some really cool message threads that come through — for kids and for adults.

For kids, there is a whole bunch of relatability. I, mean, sometimes, adults just don’t understand — can’t understand — space is needed to clear thoughts and calm down. But on the flip side, those crazy adults who care and love and watch out for little ones will always be there. The love is strong no matter the distance, and warm wings will always be waiting when little ones return.

The book spoke to me, too, as a parent. It reminded me of the space and independence our little ones sometimes need to forge their own identities and navigate the world. But it also reminded me not to dwell. That love is like an invisible string that connects us always.

A joyful, entertaining and gorgeous read.

Duckling Runs Away
Author: Margaret Wild
Illustrator: Vivienne To
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, $24.99
Publication Date: 28 February 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781761065804
For ages: 3- 6
Type: Picture Book