Values: Equality, Compassion and Respect.
This gorgeous book is perfect for little ones – nursery upwards. I would use it right up to Year 3 or 4 though, so there is plenty of opportunity to get a lot of use out of it! The book has been translated from French by Sarah Ardizzone and is published by Book Island who are based in Bristol.
The book is simple in colours, shapes and words but so powerful in its message! The story begins by a pond with a duck. When another duck appears, they decide to share the pond by splitting it in two. Another duck arrives and they each get a third (great fractions links here!). This goes on, until the pond is packed full of ducks each in their own little section. There are so many ducks that they cannot swim anymore. One day, a black duck comes along and asks them why they don’t share the pond and then they would all be able to swim freely and have much more room. The ducks realise this is a great idea! There is a funny twist at the end when a hippo arrives (the ducks quickly fleeing the water!). When another hippo appears, they share the pond in halves. The wise ducks standby and realise that the hippos will one day learn a better way of sharing the pond, like they did.
There are lots of Values you could discuss using this book, but I would start with equality, compassion and respect. Firstly, the Value of equality shines through in this book as the ducks carefully and fairly split the pond, time after time. They realise though that equality doesn’t have to be splitting possessions into tiny pieces – it can be collaborating and forming a community. This could open up some really interesting discussions about what equality really means!
Secondly, the Value of compassion would be good to highlight when reading this book. The ducks show great compassion when not telling any ducks that they can’t have a part of the pond; they just move up and accept less space for themselves! It would be really pertinent to talk to younger children about times they may have given something up for someone else and how this shows compassion. It could, of course, be linked to kindness if this is one of your school values.
Thirdly, the Value of respect works well with this book and is a common school Value. Similarly to compassion, it is a good opportunity to discuss respect for others and inclusion. The ducks are never greedy and help each other out to share their pond. I also like the compliment they always pay to each other: “Wow! Nice pond!” and great repetition for younger children. At the end, they respect the black duck’s suggestion of sharing the pond freely and realise that this makes their own lives much more enjoyable.
This is such a playful and imaginative book and I can imagine lots of schools and nurseries getting a lot of use out of it. I also like the way the characters are gender-neutral – it really is a book that will appeal to all children. If you want to get hold of a copy, find it on the Book Island website. Mine arrived with beautiful red ribbon too – it’s the little touches!
Explore more books with the same Values here: