STARRED REVIEW
January 10, 2017

Adrift with music

illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering

Captain Alfred, farmer and small-ship captain, sets sail with a happy heart, his fiddle to brighten the journey and one special duck egg aboard. As you might predict, his trip is interrupted by an enormous and terrible storm, casting the captain and his ducks to sea. His beloved fiddle is lost to the waves, and all that remains is the egg—now hatching—in the fiddle case. Alfred Fiddleduckling is born into a solitary, foggy world. When the fiddle floats by, Alfred Fiddleduckling discovers the sound of friendship and hope as he clings to his new friend. He found music; will anybody find him?

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Captain Alfred, farmer and small-ship captain, sets sail with a happy heart, his fiddle to brighten the journey and one special duck egg aboard. As you might predict, his trip is interrupted by an enormous and terrible storm, casting the captain and his ducks to sea. His beloved fiddle is lost to the waves, and all that remains is the egg—now hatching—in the fiddle case. Alfred Fiddleduckling is born into a solitary, foggy world. When the fiddle floats by, Alfred Fiddleduckling discovers the sound of friendship and hope as he clings to his new friend. He found music; will anybody find him?

Timothy Basil Ering (illustrator of The Tale of Despereaux) has a knack for expressively illustrated, slightly bizarre tales with endearing characters and deep messages. Like The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone, Alfred Fiddleduckling’s tale is quirky and charming, and guaranteed to become a favorite.

With art that is both ethereal and tangible, Ering knows exactly what each scene needs and how to pull a reader’s focus.The stunningly fierce storm engulfs the reader with lightning, as Ering’s hurried brush strokes are visible and powerful in the whitecaps. Colorful, vague swirls depict music in the air, light and feathery against the fog. Captain Alfred’s wife’s anxiously clasped hands tell us of her long, fearful wait for her husband. While his illustrations stand alone, Ering’s narration adds a layer of emotion and personification that makes this book feel like a fable. Detailed and descriptive, one could imagine retelling this story—sans pictures—by the fireplace.

By the time Alfred Fiddleduckling’s story closes, readers will be enchanted by this tale of friendship and adventure, of compassion and courage. But what remains after the last page is the beautiful, swirling music, heartening and calming, beckoning us home again.

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Get the Book

The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling

The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling

illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering
Candlewick
ISBN 9780763664329

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