“Everyone is always good at something.” It was a mantra I heard throughout my childhood, from my teachers, to my own mother…and one that I find myself echoing today with my own kids. When my 9-year-old laments that she is small for her age, I remind her that bigger isn’t always better. “Just listen how loudly you can sing,” I tell her as she belts out a number from her theater class. Because each of us is unique, we have qualities and traits that we may sometimes frown upon or even take for granted without fully realizing the beauty in their purpose. That’s the theme behind a new children’s book, Clumsy Duck, in which the title character’s self-imposed name fails to capture his true talents. The duckling spends the better part of the story tripping over his webbed feet until his determined friend Little Chick helps him figure out his exactly why his feet look the way they do. From running up and down a hill, to waddling through a field of flowers, Clumsy Duck ends up flat on his face time and time again. Just when he appears to have lost all hope, our little friend makes it to the pond where he emerges triumphant. The message of patience and endurance rings true for Clumsy Duck, one that will resonate for readers big and small in this age of impatience and instant gratification. “Look hard enough and you’ll find the answers” is another adage I came to learn, and it certainly holds true for Clumsy Duck and any other little ducklings you may know.
In a Nutshell: It’s easy to criticize what we don’t understand. This new picture book is an eye-opener for young readers in need of a little reassurance when they don’t know all the answers.