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The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  503 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Expect something unexpected when a duckling lost at sea adopts a musical new friend in a whimsical, heart-lifting story from Timothy Basil Ering.
Captain Alfred is sailing home with new ducks for his farm when his little boat is caught in an unexpected and mighty storm. Everything aboard the ship is flung to the far reaches of the sea, including the very special and beauti
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by Candlewick Press (MA)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
and now this
Am I the only one who thinks that each title inspires the next, at least by cadence, melody, like that??
Do the stories or characters or themes have anything in common??

Ok done with this one. I don't remember Fikry well enough, and have not read Prufrock, so I still don't know. What I do know about this one is that you're going to want to preview it before sharing it with a sensitive child. Or a literal-minded one.

But i
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Timothy Basil Erin is a fine artist who must have a very big, very hopeful, slightly odd heart. I'd like to thank him for his books.

Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A real STORY story, with twists and turns and so much originality.
Captain Alfred was on his way home in his little boat after accruing some new ducks for his farm and one precious egg sat snugly in his fiddle case; a gift for his wife. Of course, a duckling that was promised to be born in a fiddle case deserves a worthy name and so 'Alfred Fiddleducklin'' was bestowed upon him.
But when a storm emerges and capsizes the boat, the little duckling finds itself born into a world shrouded in a fog 'alone and drifting' with 'no one to hug' him. Drifting along the wa
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Huh. I really liked this book. I loved the illustrations and the way the author spaces the paragraphing to force the reader to pause and slow down the reading. This is a story of being lost and reuniting and finding happiness in making small connections along the journey to find home. It was sweet and a sad and mysterious and far-fetched and.....I liked it. I'm not one to typically enjoy books with fiddle playing ducks, but this one worked! ...more
Margaret Boling
12/13/2017 ~~ Magical realism, anybody? This is a story of being lost, journeying (perhaps toward home?), making new connections, and finding hope. It's also a story of family - when family includes people, animals, musical instruments, and music. I'll be curious to read this with students to hear their reactions. Will Captain Alfred make it home?

Why I read this book: It's been floated as a potential 2018 Caldecott. There are certainly illustrative elements that push the boundaries and contribut
Molly Dettmann
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved this one! The artwork is kinda weird, but in an absolutely beautiful way and the scenes where Fred plays the fiddle are gorgeous and you can feel the warmth from the pages and the love of this little duck. Definitely got worried about how it would all end! Sweet, sweet story. I think it would make a cool story time book if you could have someone play music softly in the background during the fiddle parts.
There is magic in the unbelievable, the story that one wants to believe because even through a terrible storm, a duckling finds his owner's violin, and discovers the music in it. This leads to another piece of luck, the master's dog hears that music and begins to dance. At the same time, the captain's wife waits through the storm, fearful that her Captain and his boat that were coming home with new ducks are lost. then she hears the music. The magic continues. Timothy Basil Ering, the author, al ...more
Laura Giessler
A whimsical story about being lost and finding home, family (which includes farm animals), and the power of music. There is a lot to this story, and the reader would do well to notice and remember all the characters that appear because they come back again. It would be great to read aloud with a child on your lap; more challenging, perhaps, to read with a group, but it could be done if you took care about how you read it. Love the music being represented by the colored, feathery splashes.
Michelle Gray
Beautiful illustrations and the story was so lovely to read. I look forward to sharing this in storytime.

Themes: being lost, music, ducks, family
Mississippi Library Commission
Timothy Basil Ering is the illustrator of Newbery winner The Tale of Despereaux and his exceptional artwork simply shines in Alfred Fiddleduckling. Alfred's story, starting from his inauspicious birth on the open seas, was a pure joy to read. From making new friends to making his way to a home he's never seen, this exuberant story about a lost little duckling is filled with love, humor, and hope. ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling - Timothy Basil Ering  Just so lovely. Lots of children's books have magic in them, and many have talking, clothes-wearing animals of all species hanging out together like it's no big. But this one actually feels magical, full of awe and wonder at fairly mundane events. And so pretty.
Library copy
Alyssa Gudenburr
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I LOVED this book! A beautiful story about being lost, music, and coming home. This is a long picture book and would be a better one-on-one reading.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Music brings the characters together after a storm and a wrecked boat. The duck falling in love with a violin was pretty adorable. :)
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The art is very expressionistic and bright and the imagery fills every page to the edge.

It starts with Captain Alfred sailing home with his dog, some new ducks for the farm [and eggs], and his fiddle. Unfortunately there was a storm, the ship was badly damaged, Captain Alfred's wife [?] worried for them back at home.

One of the little eggs ended up in the fiddle case, he hatched and was floating all alone. He found the captains fiddle floating along in the water and brought it close, he felt le
Amanda Brooke
I think I just fell in love with a duck - the dog is no less endearing. The suspense waiting first to meet the duck - and then the ensuing peril creates the perfect tension for a love story. You might use this book to talk to older students about the use of music to convey feeling. Younger students might need more concrete examples and you could include something like Peter and the Wolf (the music). OR you might use it as a genre example of Fantasy. It might be hard for some people to believe th ...more
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture_books, music
A whimsical tale of a lonely duckling who finds a violin lost during a storm and draws comfort, music, and comfort from it.

I love the swirling acrylic illustrations, the themes, and the underlying messages in this story--but the text felt a little flat to me, never quite developing the lyricism and rhythm that I wanted it to. I'm probably being unreasonably picky. This is nevertheless a great choice for sharing.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought this might be a really cute story just from the title, and I was not disappointed. I was happily surprised by the beauty of the illustrations, as well. Alfred is a man on the sea who has a duck egg in his fiddle case. He is bringing ducks back to his farm for his wife. A terrible storm comes up and Alfred Fiddleduckling is born in the middle of the crashing waves in his fiddle case. This is a really lovely book from start to finish. Highly recommended!
Carol  V
This action-packed story starts as Captain Alfred sets sail for home with new ducks for the farm and a special gift egg to give his wife. He carefully places the egg in his fiddle case and names the soon-to-hatch duckling egg, Alfred Fiddleduckling. What happens next is unexpected - a violent storm at sea.

This book is filled with emotional and sensory play and unexpected surprises along the way. Listeners will delight in figuring how the story ends.
Betsy Ellor Words Unbound
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was crafted with such care. From the way the cover was embossed with different textures to the illustrator's exploration of the movement of both water waves and sound waves. It was utterly evocative start to finish. Which works because the story is also evocative. I worried for a moment if it was going to be too sad for my sensitive 6-year-old, but the temporary sadness is made up for by the magic and joy that comes at the end.

Jo Oehrlein
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Striking use of color, especially against the white-gray of fog and storm.

A man is heading home with a duck egg tucked safely into a violin case. However, a storm comes and the boat is tossed. The violin case is thrown out. The egg hatches and the duck makes his way to shore, where he meets up with the man's wife.

Together, they comfort each other in the man's absence.
Luckily, he eventually makes it home.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
The Art work is unique. I looks like a painters pallet or a canvas splattered with paint! So I like the artwork--that is established! Do I love the story?! Well, yes and no! It has good elements and it has weird elements hence why I am only giving it 3 stars! I liked the friendship and musical element but it really didn't send me int a glowing writing spree! ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an adorable story about a little duckling who befriends a fiddle after a storm at sea.

There are many topics one can dicuss with a child as the book is read including weather, sea travel, farming, ducks, hatching, imprinting, etc.

The artwork is beautiful and the story is enjoyable. I would recommend this story and check it out of the library again.
Logan Phillips
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very cute book that used a darker color choice to create a sad story about perseverance. The double page bleed makes it seem like you're seeing Alfred stuck out in the ocean first hand. I think this book could be a great motivator for students to try music. I would more likely than not just add this book to my class library. ...more
Lacie Griffin
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The illustrations in this book are wonderful. You can "feel" the tossing sea and the dense fog. Also the music represented by colored strokes in the sky adds to the beauty of the book. The open ending gave the perfect twist to end the story. ...more
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful illustrations and a uniquely enticing story. The illustrations are a mixture of abstract and concrete, lending a dreamlike quality to the book. It is especially nice that there is a feel-good ending.
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
The tale of Alfred Fiddleducking has whimsy, wonder, and a masterful progression that really allows the reader to feel they are a part of the story as they discover each new element. Not to be missed!
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, 2017
Absolutely gorgeous illustrations. This is a fine example of why you should not ignore the end pages of a picture book. Timothy Basil Ering uses every available space to tell his story and it is a work of art.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Alfred Fiddleduckling is one of the warmest, sweetest, most uplifting picture books I've read in a while. I loved the way the illustrations caught the movement and energy of the story and I adored Alfred Fiddleduckling. This will make a perfect read aloud. ...more
I almost put this in lost toy "object" stories, but not really.

I love the illustrations as well as the story and can see why it should be mock Caldecott discussion worthy. I had not read any of his former picture books, but will be looking them all up.
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Timothy Basil Ering is the illustrator of the Newbery Medal-winning THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo and FINN THROWS A FIT! by David Elliott. He is also the author-illustrator of THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE and NECKS OUT FOR ADVENTURE! He lives in Massachusetts.

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