Picture Book Spotlight: Three Friends Find Spring

Three Friends Find Spring by Judy Delton and Giulio Maestro
Published: Crown Publishers, 1977
Pages: 32
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I have a few books from my childhood that I’ve read to my daughter once and she’s never asked for again. One of those is Three Friends Find Spring.

This book is tough on parents because of length. There is a lot of text. By the time you’re done reading out loud you’ll need one of those throat lozenges Rabbit uses:

They look like Pez. I loved Pez.

The illustrations are lovely, with plenty of color and character appeal, but the book’s secret weapon is sarcasm. Rabbit and Squirrel are trying to cheer Duck up about winter, with no success. Eventually they come around to Duck’s way of thinking, because Duck is right. Winter is cold, and tossing some Easter Baskets in the snow changes nothing.

Baskets of lies.

Duck cheers up himself when he sees a spring flower break through the snow and realizes there’s hope for the future. The joke’s on his buddies… They went to great efforts to adjust Duck’s attitude when they should have just left him alone.

That’s where we come back to my daughter: I asked her why she didn’t like the book and she said the book was fine. She just didn’t like Duck.

Duck is critical, irritable, hard to please, and too worried about the cleanliness of his home to listen to your problems. He has enough of his own. It’s hard for my daughter to understand why Duck’s friends care to know him at all, let alone try so hard to lift his spirits. We, the adults, can think of plenty of times we’ve labored this hard for a one-sided relationship.

Unless, you know… You are Duck.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter

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