A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

English / Australia

The duck and the darklings

Millard, Glenda (text)
King, Stephen Michael (illus.)
Sydney [et al.]: Allen & Unwin, 2014. – [32] p.
ISBN 978-1-74331-261-2

Environmental destruction – Survival – Guilt – Love – Memories – Dystopia – Picture book

Grandpapa and Peterboy live in an underground cave “built with care, lit with love” below the Earth’s surface – just like all the other survivors of an unnamed environmental catastrophe. In this dark, harsh world, people barely scrape by on the findings that the children bring home from their nightly outings. Yet when the boy happens upon a wounded duck and decides to nurse her back to health, and when the old man starts telling stories about long-ago, a glimmer of hope and happiness enters their lives. Glenda Millard uses imaginative language to tell this moving tale of a post-apocalyptic world. Her evocative word-creations and expressions add a wondrous touch to the tale. Stephen Michael King’s illustrations transform the poetic text into a visual feast that perfectly expresses the mood of the story. The main protagonists, depicted in his trademark line drawings, are set against a background of oppressing black and blue, combined with planes of beige and splashes of bright, hopeful colours. (Age: 5+)