Included in the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge.
When Zoe and her older sister Hanna find a duckling with a broken leg in a nearby park, they are determined to nurse it back to health. They do, but just as they release it back into the wild, an even greater danger appears – someone wants to develop the park into a shopping centre!
The duck becomes the rallying point for the girls and their neighbours who stage a LAME DUCK PROTEST. But will they succeed? Will Antonia’s parkland be preserved?
Review by Anastasia Gonis, Freelance Writer and Reviewer
Goldie Alexander writes for readers of all ages. Michele Gaudion’s focus now, is as Concept Visualiser. This role is evident in her exceptional interpretation of the text. The pictures are balanced between black and white charcoal and full colour glossy illustrations with exquisite borders. The story progresses frame by frame, adding visual beauty to the significant yet simple text.
Sisters Hannah and Zoe live close to a Reserve that is home to wild things, bushland, and nature in general. They find a wounded duck by the lake’s edge. They have been taught to respect and never interfere with living things in that area. But this is an exception. The duck needs medical attention.
The Vet tells them that Antonia the duck will recover but will always limp. The girls release it into the wild again after it has recovered enough to look after itself, despite that it has attached itself to Zoe, whom she believes is its mother. Zoe has been taught that wild things need to be free.
A new concern is born for the community. A Shopping Centre is planned for the area that houses the Reserve. Where will the children play? Where will the elderly stroll and sit and enjoy the environment if all this goes ahead? The whole community unites to protest against the destruction of their natural surroundings. Photographs are taken and published beside articles in the paper. This draws attention to the imminent disaster. Everyone joins the protest. They come dressed as birds and animals. They have a new way to express their concerns.
This beautifully presented book serves to bring into focus strong environmental issues directed at educating children about the need to fight to protect our natural world. Youth awareness is the key to the survival of wild birds, animals and countless other species that are under constant threat of being decimated by the destruction of their natural habitats. This book has succeeded in passing on this message.
Illustrator Michel Gaudion
Michele Gaudion began her professional career as a Freelance Illustrator in 1985. She has worked in advertising, publishing and marketing in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney.
Michele’s present focus is as a Concept Visualiser, and she spends much of her time storyboarding for Advertising and Marketing companies. She has a penchant for people-oriented work—understanding and interpreting characters with the
appropriate emotion is her skill. Her website is: mgaudionart.blogspot.com
Story Inspiration that came from “Country Viewpoint” (ABC National Bush Telegraph)
“Wild animals can survive in surprising circumstances. The other day I came outside our apartment to find four young people gathered in our back yard watching a wild duck. When they stood aside I saw Mother Duck was being followed by nine identical fluffy yellow and brown ducklings, all imprinted so successfully they followed Mother’s every move. However it was obvious that Mother Duck had made a grave mistake nesting in our back yard. Now she was stuck behind a bicycle shed. Beyond lay a series of fences, houses and roads. Now she couldn’t get her family through to Albert Park Lake.
While our young helpers were trying to guide her out from behind the shed, poor Mother was getting into more and more of a flap… this quite literally. Then someone had the bright idea of placing her and her babies inside a cardboard carton and carrying them to the lake. Certainly if she’d tried to negotiate the area between our back yard and the lake the family’s survival chances were slim.
Easy enough to catch the nine chattering ducklings and place them inside a carton, but Mamma objected fiercely to being captured, flapping about and refusing to join her babies. All this time the ducklings kept up an endless squawk. The only solution was to hold the box low enough for Mother to hear them and thus lead her the kilometre or so to the lake.
The last we saw of the duck family they were nestled on a mud patch in the bushes beside the water. When we went back a little later to see if they were okay, they had disappeared. There are safe islands in the middle of this lake where swans and waterbirds are safe from marauding dogs and cats. We can only hope that somehow Mother Duck found her way there. We had no doubt that her babies will have followed her. In spite of doomsayers, we thought this proved how successfully some wild animals have adapted to our urban sprawl.”
Hannah and her little sister Zoe find a duck with a broken leg in their reserve. Though Mr Collins, Ms Santisi and Mrs Hobson remind the girls that wild ducks shouldn’t be handled, the girls decide the duck is too sick to leave behind. Mum drives them to the vet, where the girls name the duck Antonia. She adopts Zoe as her mum and follows her everywhere. When it seems that the reserve is about to be turned into a shopping centre, Antonia helps the locals hold a ‘Lame Duck Protest’. However, next day Antonia meets other wild ducks and flies away with them.