The Little Duck/Sikihpsis


32 pages
ISBN 0-919441-74-2
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Mary Longman
Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


A long time ago, a sad little mud duck was so lonely that he decided he
wanted to become a Plains Cree Indian. Often he would fly over a nearby
Cree camp and watch what the people did. He admired the beautiful women,
handsome men, fine horses, and even the Cree dogs. One day, the mud duck
decided that he would try to pass himself off as a Cree warrior joining
in a camp dance. He put bright paint on his face and shells on his
ankles and, when the evening came, waddled into the camp as if he
belonged there. The Cree were astonished at the little stranger’s
appearance, but invited him to dance with them. Unfortunately, the duck
was so short and awkward and slow that he kept getting stepped on by the
other dancers. Battered and bruised, the sad little mud duck returned to
his swamp, convinced he was going to be a solitary bird forever.

Don’t worry, the tale has a happy ending. The theme of this engaging
story is “You will find happiness only by being yourself.” Anyone
who enjoys learning about different customs will enjoy the way in which
Beth Cuthand works so many details of traditional Cree life into her
story. The prose is printed in both English and Cree. Especially
striking are the illustrations by Mary Longman. Every oversized page is
a feast of color that could tempt some readers to tear them out and use
them as wall art. Highly recommended.


Cuthand, Beth, with Cree by Stan Cuthhand., “The Little Duck/Sikihpsis,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,