PPBF: WE1: Duck, Death and the Tulip

IMG_0832This month my picks for Perfect Picture Book Friday will feature Wolf Erlbruch, illustrator and picture book author, and 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award laureate. (some more HERE). He will be presented with the award on May 29th in Stockholm.

DuckDeathTulipCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Wolf Erlbruch, ; translator: Catherine Chidgey
Publisher: Lerner, 2011; originally published in German as Ente, Tod und Tulpe by Verlag Antje Kunstmann; This translation first published in New Zealand and Australia in 2008 by Gecko Press.
Age: 4-6
Themes: death, ducks, tulips
Opening: For a while now, Duck had had a feeling. “Who are you? What are you up to, creeping along behind me?” “Good,” said Death, “you finally noticed me. I am Death.”
Summary: (from my library’s catalog) In a strangely heart-warming story, a duck strikes up an unlikely friendship with Death.


DuckDeathTulip2Why I like this book: I like this book in particular for the gentle way in which the author approaches the subject, with very little explaining, lots of quiet moments, just enough humor and the strong emotions conveyed in the posturing of the characters. It amazes me how sparse and how rich a book can be at once.

DuckDeathTulip3Resources/Activities: read then discuss the book with your child(ren), but do not lead the conversation, just watch as it floats.

DuckDeathTulipBackFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

16 thoughts on “PPBF: WE1: Duck, Death and the Tulip

  1. Such an unexpected topic but one that children are curious about. When you wrote it was first published in Germany, I had the same thought as Patricia Tilton (above). I have a feeling my library will have to special order this book in. But I’m interested to see how this subject was handled. Thanks for another great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Swoon. I do love picture books from Europe, which are willing to tackle topics that can be a little taboo here. LOVE these illustrations.


  3. I picked this up a few years ago, before my daughter was born and she now, at 2 1/2, loves it. I second Maria Marshal: Cry Heart, But Never Break is another amazing book that ever so delicately deals with the topic of death. Death, Duck, and the Tulip is, as Julie notes, sparse and subtly humorous. I’d highly recommend picking up a copy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie, have you found this one here??? I’ve seen it featured on Brain Pickings, but haven’t found it yet. This has been at the top of my list for a while! I look forward to reading your reviews of his other books, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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