Title: Farmer Duck
Author/Illustrator: Martin Waddell, Helen Oxenbury
Reviewed by: "wildhair" (E.A. Canada) [via amazon reviews]
The author has written a children's version of George Orwell's "Animal Farm". The story is the same but with the violence omitted. The duck works for the farmer, who is portrayed as lazy. The animals decide to revolt but instead of being killed (a la Animal Farm), the farmer is run off the property that he owns. In effect, the animals have stolen the farm from him. The duck throws away his sickle as he is now free from the slavery of the farm owner. The animals set to work on "their" farm, only now the duck is giving the orders. In "Animal Farm" Orwell goes one step further and shows how the new animal leader becomes a tyrannt [sp], whereas this book ends with everyone working together on a sunny day. (The imagery in this book is well done) The perfect communist utopia where the hard working common man or proletariat, has overthrown the "lazy" wealthy owner or bourgeois. It is a misconception that "owners" don't do any work. They might not do much physical labour but they do the most important work: the work of the mind.
Aside from the theme, I didn't like this book because it encourages theft:
1) theft of a good idea for a story 2) theft of property
[ed note: because it predates the beginning of the contest, wildhair's review is ineligible for the prize drawing. Also ineligible: S. Fitzpatrick of Boston's review: "There is a good reason why this is on the list of recommend children's reading at the website for the US Socialist party. Violence toward land owners is no lesson for kids to learn. Very disappointing."]