This is a love story about a duck that falls in love with music. The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling begins on a sunny day on a boat out at sea. Captain Alfred is sailing home with new ducks for his farm and a gift for his wife: a duck egg that is very close to hatching, and the captain keeps it safe in a fiddle case. But when a storm stirs up the high seas, the waves wash everything away except the egg. Out of this egg, a little duck is born in a violin case. But in the fog, Alfred Fiddleduckling can’t see anyone or anything! But he sees something floating. Curious, he quacks at it. “The object did not quack back.” So he swims up to it and “embraced the object with all of his heart.” Of course, Alfred Fiddleduckling does not know that he is hugging his namesake, the fiddle, but then, something unexpected happened.
Music. Alfred found out that he could create beautiful sounds just by moving the strings on the object! And he loved the sound so much that he kept playing the fiddle.
And when the captain’s wife hears the music out in the distance, it gives her hope. And out of the bog floats Alfred, playing the fiddle! And the sound of his music also leads the captain--and the other ducks--safely home.
Timothy Basil Ering is the illustrator of the Newbery Award Winning book, The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo. Ering’s illustrations are painterly and the story is told in sweeping brushstrokes that convey the essence of music. Perhaps, unexpectedly, readers will fall in love with The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling just as a little duck named Alfred Fiddleduckling fell in love with music.