From award-winning author and illustrator, Wolf Erlbruch, comes one of the world’s best children’s books about grief and loss.
In a curiously heart-warming and elegantly illustrated story, a duck strikes up an unlikely friendship with Death. Duck and Death play together and discuss big questions. Death, dressed in a dressing gown and slippers, is sympathetic and kind and will be duck’s companion until the end.
“I’m cold,” she said one evening. “Will you warm me a little?” Snowflakes drifted down. Something had happened. Death looked at the duck. She’d stopped breathing. She lay quite still.
Explaining the topic of death in a way that is honest, lightly philosophical and with gentle humour, this enchanting book has been translated into multiple languages, adapted into an animated movie and short film and performed on stages worldwide.
Wolf Erlbruch (born in Wuppertal, Germany) was an award-winning illustrator and writer of children's books. He combined various techniques for the artwork in his books, including cutting and pasting, drawing, and painting. His style was sometimes surrealist and was widely copied inside and outside Germany, and some of his story books discuss adult topics such as death and the meaning of life. They have won many awards, including the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1993 and 2003, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award for illustration in 2006.
This is not your usual picture book about death. The story is simple. Death, wearing a fashionably long plaid coat and bearing a black tulip, comes to stay with Duck. Understandably nervous, Duck asks, "Are you going to make something happen?" But no. "Life takes care of that," Death tells her. The two pal around, going to the pond, perching high in a tree. Duck wonders about dying and Death listens to her speculate. Winter comes, and one night Duck lies down. She does not get up. Death gently places her body in the river, the tulip resting on her chest.
Written and illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch, a German author, (and beautifully translated by Catherine Chidgey), the book's simple text and sparse, elegant illustrations combine to create a moving yet unsentimental treatise on death. It also has a sly, deadpan humor throughout, as when Duck first notices Death's presence. "Duck was scared stiff, and who could blame her?"
A strange (in the best sense), moving book, it isn't for every child. But I wish it had been around when I was one.
An incredible read. An ironically heartwarming and comforting message is prominent within this unique picture book. The illustrations are exceptionally memorable and suit the style of the book perfectly- it provides a beautiful opportunity to discuss the topic of death with children without it being daunting or frightening but rather more gentle and comforting.
Es un libro muy...lindo, pero que al llegar al final, como adulto, te deja una sensación de que aun queda algo más que decir, una palabra, una frase, un párrafo, un algo. Pero no, el cierre es tan abrupto como lo es la muerte misma. Aunque tiene un mensaje muy poderoso; la muerte siempre esta ahí y debemos aceptarla, abrazarla y vivir con ella.
Ideal para ese incomodo momento en que los niños preguntan por primera vez sobre la muerte.
Тепло і душевно про смерть, як би дивно це не звучало. Дуже лаконічна книга, але при цьому кожне речення в ній виважене, продумане і спонукає до роздумів та довгих обговорень. Прекрасна невелика книга для розмов з молодшим поколінням про важливе та неминуче.
لا يستطيع أحدٌ أن ينكر ما للموت من حضور بيننا، وإنه الصديق الأزلي الوحيد الذي يذكّرنا بحقيقة الوجود المطلق في كلّ مرة ننساها أو نتناساها. يذكر الروائي الأمريكي جون أبدايك: في كل مرّة أستيقظ من النوم، أكتشف أن هناك تغيير قد حدث في داخلي، وكأن الشخص الذي كنته بال��مس قد مات! ولهذا السبب دائماً ما أسأل نفسي: لماذا نحن خائفون من الموت؟ ولماذا نرتعب من فكرة قدومه المفاجئ طيلة الوقت؟
الموت يتعقب بطة (والبطة على مايبدو- ترمز للحب والحياة في بعض الثقافات.) تُلاحظه البطة، وتبدأ قصة علاقة قصيرة للغاية، وبما أن أحد الأطراف هو الموت، فليس من المحتمل أن تنتهي القصة بشكل سعيد. العبرة والفكرة عذبة وذكية، تصميم شخصية الموت مثير للاهتمام للغاية، والرسومات غاية في الظرافة.
”بقي يراقبها لفترة طويلة. وحينما ابتعدت عن ناظريه، شعر بشيء ما في قلبه. "��كن هذه هي الحياة." فكر الموت.“
Now translated into English, Death, Duck and Tulip. Well after I found my way into the 'issues' section at the library searching for childrens laureate Anthony Browne I came across this book.Id heard the title recently after a librarian friend told me how they had ordered several of them to help children deal with death, but after reading them they had doubts they would be appropriate for children. The blurb says adults and teenagers and I think that if intended for younger age groups extreme caution must be used. Death is with the duck from page 1, shown as a skeleton face thing but clothed in beige colours ( not your black grim reaper ). The duck asks lots of quetions and is not afraid and welcomes deaths presence, even warming death with his own body when death becomes cold and wet in the pond. If your in the unfortunate position of having to explain to a child about death, maybe a family member is dying then this book hopefully would take the fear of death away. But as I read it under normal circumstances it really does give you the creeps and I would not recommend for very young children.
Voy a incluir este cuento en mis libros leídos solo porque ya he terminado el desafío de lectura y porque este en concreto merece una reseña.
Esta pequeña historia tiene todo lo que un cuento necesita para robarme el corazón: ilustraciones sencillas pero delicadas, un argumento que, aún llendo al grano, encuentra espacio para pequeñas bromas y detalles exquisitos, personajes tiernos y entrañables pero sin rozar siquiera lo cursi, una historia que cabe en menos de 20 páginas pero te hace abrazar el libro al terminar y simplemente permanecer así durante 10 minutos, en silencio, pensando en por qué es tan simple y tan bueno al mismo tiempo...
Tan macabro que es dulce, tan curioso que es familiar, tan breve que es infinito, tan insólitamente brillante que es imprescindible. Duck, Death and the Tulip es el cuento que habría deseado tener de niña y la historia que aspiro a escribir e ilustrar algún día.
This book is just beautiful 🥺😭🖤 A friend gifted it to me after my mom died. It’s a gorgeous depiction of Death meeting a duck and being a friend and kind guide before the end of her life. There is a season for everything and no need to fear death.
‘Duck, Death and the Tulip’ written and illustrated by German author Wolf Erlbruch synthesises the presentation of human, animal and nature forms and sensitively presents death through metaphorical pictures as the eponymous title suggests. The picture book offers all types of readers the opportunity to learn about death in a unique and accessible way whilst presenting death in the form of a character carrying a black tulip which begins to naturally die along with the Duck, as the story progresses. Throughout the story, the pictures and words effectively work together through the words and pictures complimenting each other. For example, the book opens with the narrator describing how for a while, ‘Duck had had a feeling’ and noticed something always creeping behind with the simplistic illustration of the duck curiously peering behind. On the opposite page, stands death as a figure (which our eyes our instantly drawn to) which simply answers the duck’s enquiry as to who they are as, ‘I am death’. By presenting these two characters as opposing each other from the start, this awakens curiosity in the reader to find out why Death is following Duck whilst perhaps hinting to older readers that Duck is dying. In the book, Erlbuch’s use of language alongside the simplistic pictures effectively depicts duck and death sharing conversations about duck’s impending death and death answering questions about Duck’s ideas on the afterlife whilst having fun together.
Personally, I think if I were sharing this with children I would choose to read this in smaller shared or guided reading groups due to the various chances for ‘zooming in’ with children and exploring certain parts such as, Duck’s ideas on the afterlife or the poignancy of the final page. Additionally, I think the amount of opportunities for rich discussion this book provides children should be given time and attention, particularly if children have not experienced or understand what grief is.
I couldn't recommend this book more-it takes a difficult subject and effectively provides a beautifully comforting story.
I don't know what I was expecting, I didn't read the blurb but requested it at work after a colleague told me about it. Is this literary fiction for children?! Death is a dark subject of course, but I'm not sure I'd read this to my 5 year old. It's a great concept. Just not for me. It's not harmful, but quite confronting, as are the illustrations. This would be excellent for the right time, a good resource for the subject of death.
I just had to re-read because it is so precious & I still haven't brought it back to the library. My review still stands.
20/52 books read in 2019.
EN: I absolutely adore this picture book. It is short, sweet, and the illustrations are beautiful. I think it would be the perfect way to explain a sudden passing or death in general to children. The entire book feels incredibly peaceful and I think that is incredibly important when you inform a child about this natural process so you do not add unnecessary fear. I definitely want to read it again!
NL: Dit is zeker weten een van mijn favoriete prentenboeken. Het is kort, lief en de illustraties zijn prachtig. Ik denk dat dit boek enorm handig kan zijn als je aan een kind moet uitleggen dat iemand overleden is, of ze vragen hebben over de dood. Het boek voelt enorm vredig en dat lijkt mij de perfecte manier om dit natuurlijke proces uit te leggen zonder onnodige angst in te boezemen. Ik wil dit verhaal zeker nog een keertje lezen!
This book is an excellent conversation starter. It covers the topic of death in a simple and effective way. It provides the reader(s) a safe space to discuss the difficult subject matter.
Simply taking just a picture or double page spread could be a way to initiate discussion with others. It could link to RE and different views of life after death.
Considering how simple the text and images are, there is an incredible amount you can take from them. The use of blank space and of colour are also used highly effectively and the significance of this could even be talked about in an art lesson.
It would be helpful for the implied reader to have an awareness of life and death, some knowledge of predators and prey and an awareness of potential danger.
The symbolism behind tulips/ flowers is an interesting further discussion point.
Readers will have their own preconceptions on the topic but these may be challenged as a result of the discussion.
Very odd book. My adult co-workers liked it but I'm not sure about kids. It definitely raises a lot of questions about death, which could be good or bad, depending on the child and the family. This book was translated from the German, which explains a lot.
This is easily one of the most moving books I’ve ever read. The portrayal of how one can make friends with death and is not something to fear has truly stuck with me. Such a powerful message and I can’t recommend this book highly enough!