Check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog feature Perfect Picture Book Fridays. She has compiled a complete list of recommended picture books with links to resources for home and the classroom. It’s awesome!
Title: Guji Guji
Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2004
Ages: 4 and up
Themes: humor, animals, family, love, differences and acceptance, nature vs. nurture, adoption
Opening: “An egg was rolling on the ground. It rolled through the trees. It rolled across the meadow. It rolled all the way down the hill. Finally, it rolled into a duck’s nest.“
Synopsis: (Adapted from the New York Times) When fate rolls a crocodile egg into Mother Duck’s nest (she is too busy reading to notice), her three ducklings end up with a strange sibling. The fourth ”duckling” is the biggest of the brood. He’s less an ugly duckling than a clumsy one, however, and as his brothers learn to swim, dive and waddle, he makes the biggest splash of all.
Enter three conniving crocodiles with plans for the odd ”duck.” Since crocodiles eat ducks, they explain, it is Guji Guji’s duty to deliver his family to them. Our hero wanders off to hatch a plan. ”I am not a bad crocodile,” he thinks. ”Of course, I’m not exactly a duck either.”
The next day, when Mother Duck and her family go to practice diving, three bad crocodiles are waiting under the bridge, jaws agape. Guji Guji is ready for them. Instead of ”fat, delicious ducks,” the crocodiles get a very unappetizing surprise: ”three big, hard rocks” from the top of the bridge.
What I thought: Chih-Yuan Chen is an author and illustrator from Taiwan and has won the Hsin Yi Picture Book Award three times. I can see why! I love the style of the art, and I love the fact that Guji Guji makes the most of the fact that he is different from his duck siblings. Instead of feeling bad about himself, he shows those crocodiles the difference between right and wrong. Chen said, “It is my hope that children from all over the world can learn to accept different people and things, and see the world with broader views and minds.”
And here is a video reading from StorylineOnline:
Enjoy and let me know what you think!