Stephanie Dagg's Reviews > Maria's Duck Tales: Wildlife Stories from My Garden

Maria's Duck Tales by Maria Daddino
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Mar 18, 2012

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Read in January, 2012

Maria’s Duck Tales by Maria Daddino is exactly what the title suggests - a collection of acutely observed accounts of the antics of this author’s favourite birds. But we’re not limited to ducks. There are stories about other ‘wild-friends’ including ospreys, Fatso and Gypsy the squirrels, Sara Beth and Diablo the geese, and Misty and Gypsy the collies. There are mentions too of opossums, groundhogs and deer. But the ducks, the Muscovies and the Pekins, are undeniably the stars. One of the most entertaining parts of the book is about gardening with ducks. Or rather trying to! Ducks can be very destructive and it speaks volumes about Daddino’s patience that she can still love her ducks despite their misdeeds in her adored garden. The author’s sense of humour abounds in many of her names for the ducks - Peanut, Big Whitey, Ghostie and Mr and Mrs Whiney.

In the introduction, Daddino says that her ‘musings’ are about one woman’s attempts to combine the pleasures of gardening, the joys of wildlife and the rewards of establishing a balanced mini ecosystem. She certainly achieves this and readers are entertained and educated along the way. There’s humour and adventure in the tales, but also sadness at times. However, the author never oversentimalises. Instead she respects and admires the creatures around her that touch her life, and communicates both their charm and her fascination with them in her writing. There are beautiful colour illustrations by Steve Ensign. A table of contents and index might have been nice additions, but on the whole this is a polished and impressive book.
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