Monday, October 24, 2022

LIKE A DUCK by Deborah Kerbel

Girl and duck sitting on a hill with lake and sun in the background

Why this book?

There were so many things to love about this book! Sarah, the main character lives with her mom and her duck, Webster, who is a registered therapy animal that helps Sarah when she feels stressed and anxious. Sarah has many worries, including how she’ll get through the unusual cooking camp her mom signed her up for as well as why her dad left when she was little.

I was really interested in the cooking camp—and a bit surprised to find it wasn’t quite what I expected. This book is about building relationships, coping with stressful situations and solving the mystery of what happens to Webster when he goes missing. 


Connections: family, friendship, anxiety, therapy animals, cooking


Activities for students:

Social Emotional Learning – Discuss different strategies for coping with stressful situations. Encourage students to write their ideas on cards to put in a basket in a “calming centre” where they can try each other’s ideas.

Literacy – A great activity could be for students to each make a list of 7 things people should know about their pet or about them. Posting them anonymously could make for a fun guessing game about who’s who.

Personal Journal – Reflect on times when you were forced to participate in something you didn’t want to do. What did you do? Is there something you could have done differently?

Reasoning Skills: List the pros and cons of having a duck for a pet.

Literacy & Problem-Solving: Brainstorm a list of ideas for what Webster might be doing while Sarah is searching for him. Provide materials for students to create a board game to show where Webster the duck might have gone.

More resources:

Discussion and Activity Guide from Scholastic

Description from the publisher:

For almost as long as she can remember, it’s been Sarah, her mom and her steadfast duck, Webster. Ten years ago, Sarah’s dad mysteriously left, and it feels more important than ever for her to find out why. But that is going to be harder than she expected.

When Sarah’s birthday plans get cancelled, she is sent to a camp where she doesn’t want to be. It couldn’t get any worse. And then it does. Will Sarah have to say another painful goodbye?

In a story about love, loss, unexpected friendship and finding out who you are, Like a Duck reminds us that family is what you make it . . . and sometimes what feels broken is actually imperfectly perfect.


Like a Duck by Deborah Kebel was published by Scholastic Canada.

You can also find more middle grade book selections at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, a blog review feature compiled by Greg Pattridge, listing middle grade books with contributions by enthusiastic middle grade book readers and book bloggers.


  1. I'm intrigued by the cooking camp too. Thanks for sharing this with us this wee.

  2. Happy MMGM! A great sounding plot and I liked your student activities. I also grew up with a duck so it's a perfect fit for me.

  3. I love that she has a therapy duck! My sister actually has a duck called Webster :) Sounds a great story!

  4. Well, you don't see a therapy duck in a story every day. This sounds like a fun read. Thanks for the review.

  5. U am all for books that address mental health issues. So important. Love the idea of a therapy duck -- unique. Thanks for sharing!


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