The Little Duck


32 pages
ISBN 1-894778-10-3
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Mary Longman
Translated by Stan Cuthand
Reviewed by Elizabeth Levin

Elizabeth Levin is chair of the Psychology Department at Laurentian


Sikiphsis (which means “little mud duck” in Cree) is unhappy with
his lot in life. The rather ugly duck envies the fine Cree who live
nearby. One day Sikiphsis makes an elaborate costume so that he can
attend the Cree dance. Although several people speak to him at the
dance, they cannot understand him and he cannot understand them. Worse,
Sikiphsis is not a good dancer; his legs are short and the taller
dancers keep stepping on him. Dejected, the young duck returns to the
mud swamp. This time, though, when he heard the calls of other mud
ducks, he realizes that he is happy to be one of them and need never be
lonely again.

This Cree tale based on an old adage—we are never satisfied with our
own situation and always think others have it better—is nicely told,
and richly illustrated with bold, vividly coloured drawings. In addition
to the English text, a Cree translation is provided on the lower half of
each page. Rather than distract the reader, this approach serves to
emphasize the cultural diversity in Canada. Recommended.


Cuthand, Beth., “The Little Duck,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,