Reading/Interest Level: Preschool
Author: Timothy Basil Ering
A fiddler on a journey brings a gift to his wife: a tiny duckling about to hatch. He names the duckling Alfred Fiddleduckling. A mighty storm upsets the boat and sets them adrift. Alfred sees a shadow on the waves and discovers the violin floating in the water. He falls in love with the instrument when he hears the strings strum a bit of music. He finds his way through the fog to the island and begins to play. His happy strumming brings the farmer's dog and the farmer's wife. Even on the waves the farmer on his raft hears the music that is calling him safely home.
This is a beautiful book. The artwork is colorful and hazy by turns, emphasizing the weather patterns in the story. Each time Alfred strums the violin it sends sparks of color into the air that represent the sounds that are guiding everyone near. Especially charming is the point in the story that Alfred swoops up the guitar to keep it from feeling lonely. The tale itself is a lovely story about finding family and home. The story hovers between practical feelings and the unlikely ability of a duckling to play the violin; this creates a marvelous and moving tension between hope and fear. This is a wonderful story of hope and persistence in the face of difficulty.