Duck, Apple, Egg (Glenda Millard, illus by Martina Heiduczek, ABC Books)
This sweet and simple picture book will be a nice one to read to babies and toddlers just beginning to enjoy books. Duck, Apple, Egg is a cheerful, concise text that uses few words and plenty of repetition, playing with the order of the words to create many different sketches of a young child’s idyllic time playing in a garden. Beginning with ‘Duck on the green, sun in the sky, egg in the nest, apple on the tree’ plus the refrain ‘and me’, the book moves through various combinations of the main objects, reminiscent of Emily Gravett’s Orange Pear Apple Bear. The sillier variations (‘egg on the tree’) might incite giggles from kids old enough to notice, otherwise the story will be an uncomplicated read, short enough to keep the attention of young listeners. Glenda Millard’s words are paired evenly with Martina Heiduczek’s soft but textured images, which combine reassuringly sweet faces with more complex foliage, as well as background details like tiny spotty boots outside the cottage in the distance. The illustrations, a combination of hand-drawn and digital elements, have the layered feel of collage along with the gentleness of watercolour and suit the words well, and would suit children aged 18 months and up.
Anica Boulanger-Mashberg is an editor, writer and bookseller at The Hobart Bookshop