The Hen, the Duck, and the Eagle
by Olugbenga Adesokan

"˜'No,' said mother, 'you must eat only what is right.'"

A mother eagle and her young eaglets are looking for food but their searches are turning out to be fruitless. After asking an elephant for help, the stubborn elephant says he has no time to help the eagles and resumes eating his leaves. The eaglets decide to strike out on their own to look for food to bring home and wind up snatching some ducklings from a mother duck. When they bring the ducklings home, the mother eagle asks what the mother duck did, and when the eaglets say she did nothing, the eagle mother insists they take the ducklings back. Fearful that the duck is planning to retaliate, the mother eagle repeats herself and so the eaglets return the ducks and find some young chickens instead, upsetting the mother hen in the process.

At its heart, this is a story about losing a loved one too soon. The moral is a little disguised, due to the focus on the eagles as the main characters rather than the ducks or chickens. This storytelling twist keeps the message from being too depressing or heavy-handed for young readers. Every page is fully illustrated with bright, full-color pictures that make every scene easy to imagine. The presentation allows for an easy read-along with a group of children, but the personal, emotional nature of the story is probably better suited for one-on-one reading, particularly to allow for questions that children might have after the book ends. This book provides a safe avenue for parents to ease into the discussion of death or loss with a child and broach an otherwise difficult subject.

Return to USR Home