Duck, Death, and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch
Review by Intern Jessica
In Duck, Death, and the Tulip, Erlbruch takes a direct approach to tackling the subject of death and loss. Duck seems to be aware that Death has come for her, and together they ponder existential questions. She fears Death at first, but gradually Duck warms up to him before she dies. It ends with Death tenderly smoothing Duck’s feathers, placing her in the river, and watching her body float away. On the final page, Death walks with a fox and rabbit.
After reading this book, I had to take some time to reflect on it before writing about it. It conveys the message that death is universal. Just as Duck became acquainted with Death, Fox and Rabbit will too. This book could be helpful for someone that has recently lost a loved one, has a loved one that is experiencing a terminal illness, or has an overwhelming fear of death due to the uncertainty that surrounds it. Since it is rather dark, it might be helpful to read it first and then decide if it is appropriate for your child. Very young children may not understand that Death is not an actual entity that physically follows people and animals. For older children, it could help open up a discussion on the subject and help them to cope with a loss. Overall, Erlbruch handles a delicate subject in an honest and tender way.