Muddle and Mo’s Worm Surprise (2016)Nikki Slade Robinson,
Duck Creek Press32pp
Hb 978-1-927305-17-1 NZ$30
Pb 978-1-927305-18-8 NZ$20
This charming picture book is a sequel to the author-artist’s equally charming Muddle and Mo (2015) which introduced young readers to Muddle the slightly confused duckling, who is ever keen to please, and Mo the placid and patient goat, who puts up with his enthusiasm. In Muddle and Mo’s Worm Surprise Muddle suddenly announces that he’s planning a picnic for them both. “We will have worm surprise,” The change in Mo’s expression is a delight; clearly she fears the worst.
In the stylised double-page colour illustrations, we see Muddle using all his energy to capture worms, while poor Mo watches on nervously. Muddle catches some bugs as well and soon has a full bucket.
“We are going to the top of that hill,” Muddle commands, waddling vigorously and towing the bucket behind. Doleful but unwilling to offend her friend, Mo follows.
On the hilltop, Muddle produces two plates of food. His has worms and bugs but Mo’s plate is…well, it’s a surprise.
This is a lovely little fable, simply told, of friends caring for each other and making allowances for differences. Nikki Slade Robinson has based both the stories and the illustrations on two of her family pets, and her affection for them shows through.
The design standard is high and I was intrigued to see that each of the characters has a different font when they speak. It is good to see Duck Creek Press continuing to maintain such a fine standard in their picture books.