By: Robbyn Smith van Frankehuyzen
Illustrated by: Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: March 2014
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2014
Heather threw her arms up in the air as she jumped down from the stairs of the bus. Home at last to Hazel Ridge Farm and it was the last day of school. It couldn’t get any better than that! She was soon off into the fields with her dad to pull weeds. Heather soon found herself sitting among the lupines gathering the treasures of the field. She found “a sparkly stone that glittered gold, a piece of wood with beetle scribblings etched in it, a brown speckled eggshell,” but wait! There was something else nestled in the grasses. A fuzzy little creature was waiting there to be discovered.
Heather was full of questions for her father, but she really wanted to “take him home and be his family.” Perhaps, but it would be a big responsibility because, as her Dad explained, “You have to keep him safe and warm and fed. You have to teach him how to be a duck; to swim, to hunt for bugs, and how to fly.” Loving the little wood duck just might be a problem because one day Heather would have to let him go. The summer began to fly by as Heather began to teach Mr. Peet how to get along on Hazel Ridge. He began to learn all the things a duck should know, but one day Mr. Peet disappeared. Would he be able to survive out in the wild?
This is a marvelously heartwarming story of Heather and Mr. Peet young children will love. The tale flowed beautifully as we follow Heather and Mr. Peet through the summer when she fosters him. It’s a joyous adventure for Heather as she learns about the special responsibility of caring for another creature. She also learns that there is indeed a time of letting go. Has Heather loved Mr. Peet “just enough” so that she can do so? The full-page, full-color artwork is beautifully expressive and captures the love Heather has for her charge. It’s a summer with a little wood duck that will stick in the minds of all who hear this tale.
Quill says: This is a beautiful tale that anyone who has ever read any of the Hazel Ridge Farm Stories will immediately fall in love with!