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:
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.
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.