“It was just like a little Disney story.”
Those are the words of Winchester author Juliet Deacock who has written a children’s book after learning of a sweet tale told to her by a friend.
In the summer of 2018 Juliet’s friend Shelly Hughes and her family, who live in Itchen Stoke, took in a one-day old sickly orphaned duckling.
Initially the retired nurse decided to write a poem but as it developed it has now been turned into a book entitled Tatty Duck, a true story.
“The book, written in verse, describes their wonderful summer and the funny times they shared, until Tatty Duck settled back down on the River Itchen,” Juliet said.
“It was so unusual that a duck would grow up in a house with a dog and become good friends.”
Juliet was shown photos by her friend which captured the journey as the animal was nurtured back to health.
“They nurtured it until it was well and reared it in their house and garden with the help of their brown Labrador, Barny,” she continued.
“When it was little used to cuddle up and nuzzle into the dog. It learnt to swim in a washing up bowl, then a bucket and then a paddling pool.”
But the tale captured Juliet’s imagination even further as the duck had an upturned beak, different from other ducks.
The author hopes that this will inspire children into being proud of who you are and having confidence.
The unusual beak has meant that the duck is easily spotted by the family: “When it did grow up and flew down to the river they [the Hughes family] could see which one it was. Everyone in Itchen Stoke knew – it was a really special thing.”
So far Juliet has carried out two readings in Waterstones and spent time at Twyford Pre-prep telling the story to children in the nursery and reception classes.
The story will not end there as she has been commissioned to write another book following the bird called Tatty Duck Grown Up.
Tatty Duck, a true story is available to buy from Amazon, Waterstones and Austin Macauley, the publishers.
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