Hazel Edwards & Christine Anketell
Illustrated by Mini Goss
A two book series of back-to-back stories with delightful illustrations certain to captivate younger readers.
In Book 1, Duckstar / Cyberfarm, Duck and his friends have a problem: their farm will be closed down unless they can find the money to improve its safety features. Their big chance comes when they are asked to appear as extras in a television advertisement. Will their plan work? In their second adventure, Cyberfarm, Duck and his friends are going to be replaced by robots and virtual farm animals. They devise a plan to win back the tourists by performing a show.
In Book 2, Operatic Duck / Duck on Tour, Duck and his friends are asked to take part in a community performance of the opera Aida. They all want the show to be a success, but rehearsals aren't going well... In their second adventure, Duck on Tour, Duck and his friends take the show on the road, heading to the outback to perform Aida there. But then it starts to rain, and before long their train is cut off in the middle of nowhere by floodwaters. Is there anything the animals can do to save everyone?
We offer a Teachers' Guide as a free download.
The animal characters are cutely humanised, both in the text, by authors Hazel Edwards and Christine Anketell, and in the lovely illustrations from Mini Goss, The Duck wears oversized sneakers and a kerchief, while the Sheep wears an outrageous woolly coat. The Pig does a 'unique' eastern-inspired belly-dance, while the goat drums on a bucket. This humour is gentle but very contemporary. These animals must learn the lingo and the conventions of working in the performance arts!
– Bella's Book Reviews
Kids will love the novelty of this format, and parents and librarians will like the inherent value for money that this concept offers – two books for the price of one.
– Sally Murphy, www.aussiereviews.com
On Cyberfarm: What does a farm caretaker do when confronted by the fact that her farm may be shut down due to lack of funds. She makes a television commercial starring the farm animals of course. What does a group of farm animals do when they are confronted by the fact that they may be tossed over for cyber technology? They decide to take matters into their own hands and put on a show, of course.
These books are a great idea for those children who would like to read a novel , but cannot cope with the length of the plot. Two humorous stories centred on the same main characters are presented in the one book. The font is large and a generous spread of illustrations make these books eminently readable for those who are not yet ready for the concentration that a full blown storyline demands.
– Debbie Mulligan, Magpies
In these two farmyard stories starring the director duck , Hazel Edwards displays her scintillating sense of the absurd and her taste for puns. Younger readers will have a lot of fun with the humour of these stories. Taking inspiration from Orwell's Animal Farm, …the duck and the single woman who runs the farm, Caitlin, take on the farm's financial plight to bring it up to a standard of safety fit for children to visit. Then, in response to the intrusion of techno-heads with plans for setting up a cyber farm of virtual experiences, the animals decide to put on a non-boring, live entertainment, complete with a belly-dancing pig. The issues in these stories are gently raised, though the tales do respond to the contemporary world (workplace safety issues and the effects of technology on natural experiences). A fun experience with a character who might just stick around for a while.
Kevin Brophy, Reading Time Review
The Duckstar series, aimed at the primary school aged audience, would be fantastic for the classroom. I can imagine all the wonderful follow up activities created by the children (see also linked teachers' notes). Written by well known children’s author Hazel Edwards and Christine Anketell; who just happens to be a wonderful teacher (this is no co-incidence). Together this wonderful resource and great series is born. Mini Goss brings life to the spunky little duck and his farm mates through her illustrations (I love his cute shoes).
The Duckstar series creates the opportunity for active participation so easily you will think you came up with the ideas yourself! Very clever writers, an easy read and very accessible.
Duckstar – Duck is new to the farm and finds it is in need of repair. To raise money for repairs Duck and his surprisingly talented friends become extras for an advertisement. This is where Duck learns about directing and has lots of fun in the process.
Cyberfarm – When the animals hear about the opening of the cyberfarm activities and entertainment they decide that children would much prefer the real thing, and set about putting on a performance to show them real animals are a lot more fun.
Operatic Duck – A new block of apartments is going up next door. Mr. Bigge the developer has ideas of grandeur and what is grander then an opera to promote the apartments? Any grand opera needs animals, right? You can imagine the fun!
Duck on Tour – Like any successful act, a tour is par for the course. Duck on Tour is a story of travel (on rainbow train no less), disaster and unlikely heroes.
Duck is the sort of fellow who is eager to try new things, learn new tricks and help out wherever he can. He and his farm friends, including a belly dancing pig, drum playing goat and multi talented parrot just to name a few, are a barrel of fun and a welcome addition to any home or classroom collection.
– Angela Hall, Bug in a Book