Authors: Hazel Edwards
an imprint of IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)
Treetop Studio â¢ 9 Kuhler Court
Carindale, Queensland, Australia 4152
First published by IP Kidz in 2010
Â© Hazel Edwards and Christine Anketell, 2010 (text)
Â© Mini Goss, 2010 (illustrations)
ePub edition, 2010
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the
prior written permission of the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.
Printed in 12 pt Book Antiqua on 14 pt Myriad Pro.
National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry:
Author: Edwards, Hazel, 1945-
Title: Operatic duck : duck on tour / Hazel Edwards and
Christine Anketell ; illustrations by Mini Goss.
ISBN: 9781921479861 (ebk.)
Series: Edwards, Hazel, 1945- Operatic duck.
Target Audience: For primary school age.
Subjects: Ducks--Juvenile fiction.
Other Authors/Contributors: Anketell, Christine.
Dewey Number: A823.3
Cover and internal illustrations by Mini Goss
Book and cover design by Anna Bartlett
Things Go Wrong
The Grand March, With Duck!
Duck on Tour
âOne, two, three and a half.'
Duck covered his eyes with his wings and counted to ten.
âEight, nine, ten. Coming, ready or not.'
He was playing Hide-and-Seek in the Abbey with Sheep and Parrot.Â
The Abbey was beside the Children's Farm. It used to be a church. Most days he waddled through the Abbey vegetable garden, poked his bill under straggly tomato plants, and did his sunshine exercises on the back step until Cate called him to help feed the hens.
The Abbey looked big. Duck loved water painting the solid blue stones with his feathers on hot days. Today, the sunlight shone through the stained glass making rainbow patterns on the floor.
âSheep, are you hiding?' called Duck looking at Sheep's footprints. Muddy splotches trailed into the Abbey. It wasn't hard to guess where Sheep had gone to hide.
âYes,' came Sheep's voice from inside the Abbey.
âAre you in the same place?' asked Duck.
Sheep loved hiding under the pew, which was a long church seat. Duck checked. That's where the muddy footprints went, again.
âGot you, Sheep.' Duck tapped Sheep's woolly shoulder.
âHow did you find me so fast?'
Duck just smiled.
âYou won't be able to hide here soon, Sheep.' Parrot flew down from the high wooden ceiling.
âWhat d'you mean, Parrot?' Sheep's eyes opened wide.
âThere's a billboard out the front,' said Parrot.
âThe Abbey has been sold.'
âOh no!' said Duck. âSold! That means our playground is sold.'
âWhat's a billboard?' asked Sheep. This was another new word and he'd already learnt three this week. Sheep didn't like to fill his head with too many new words.
âIt's a place where people put up news. This one says SOLD,' said Parrot.
âI've got a bill,' said Duck. 'Let's look at that billboard.' He liked to check out anything that could have something to do with him.
Sheep, Parrot and Duck played “follow the leader” in a wobbly line through the smelly weeds and overgrown roses to the front of the Abbey.
Duck stared at the big sign. On one side was a picture with coloured blobs.
âThat's a map,' Parrot squawked. âTells you where things are. Or where they should be if people haven't moved them.'
Duck looked around, then back at the map.
âIt's not the same,' he said.
Parrot pointed at the blue blob. âBlue is water. Black is buildings. Green is grass or trees. This black is the Children's Farm and this green is Horse's paddock.'
Sheep nodded. He didn't understand but Parrot sure knew his colours.
âWhy do people need maps of what they can see in front of them?' asked Duck.
âI'm in front of you, Duck, and I'm not on the map,' said Sheep.
âIt's only a map of what's stuck in the ground, and we're not,' said Parrot.
Duck looked at the other side of the sign. It had a picture of a white building with wings for a roof. âI can't see that here.'
âNot yet,' said Parrot. âThat's what a billboard does. It shows you a picture of what this place is GOING to look like, when the Isis Apartments are built. See, these numbers are what the apartments are going to cost.'
âI see,' said Sheep. He'd lost count.
âI like those great wings on the roof,' said Duck.
Parrot puffed out his chest with pride. âThey're called the Isis Apartments because Isis was an Egyptian goddess with wings.'
âWhat was her job?' Duck liked anything with wings, except cockroaches.
âShe looked after things,' said Parrot.
âExcuse me.' Sheep was still staring at the billboard map. âIs that our fence on the map?'
âYes,' said Parrot.
âIs that Pig's trough next to the fence?'
âYes,' said Duck.
âNot much room,' said Sheep. âPig will be eating right under this black square.'
âThat black square is Isis Apartment 101.'Parrot knew his numbers as well as his colours.
They looked at each other. Pig was a VERY messy eater. And you could smell his dinner from a long way off.
Time to see Cate, thought Duck. Cate fed all the farm animals, and decided who ate where. Maybe Pig would have to change his habits?
âYou have to do something!' Cate said.
Duck heard voices and smelt warm scones coming from the farm kitchen. Cate had a visitor.
Duck waddled in.
Cate's friend Ned was waving an Isis leaflet while spilling his mug of tea and dropping crumbs.
âNed, Mr Bigge has promised that his Isis
Apartments won't block out the light for the Farm.'
Cate buttered more scones. Ned was skinny but he ate whatever was there, Duck noticed.
âThat's what Mr Bigge says, but have you looked at the plans? The pig trough is right under the most expensive apartments!' said Ned.
Cate said, âPig won't mind moving.'
Won't mind moving, thought Duck. Pig minds EVERYTHING to do with his food. Or where he sleeps. Or where he walks. Or where he does ANYTHING!
âMr Bigge said our visitors can use the new car park.'
âOnly because we made him,' said Ned. âI said the only way he could build his new Isis Apartments in the old Abbey gardens was IF he turned the Abbey into a community centre.'
âYes, âsaid Cate. âThe new centre will bring lots of visitors to the farm.'
âDid I hear the word “visitors”?' a voice boomed from a large dark shadow in the doorway.
Duck looked up, and up, and up... Mr Bigge was big.
âCate, I've got a great idea for you.' Mr Bigge hurled himself onto a kitchen chair. âOh, hello again Ned.'
âHope the chair doesn't break,' whispered Duck to Sheep, who nodded.
âLet me guess, âsaid Ned. âSomething about your Isis Apartments?'
âSpot on, young man. Wait until you hear this.'
Cate and Ned leaned closer and Parrot, who liked to have any news firsthand, landed on the window sill to listen. Sheep and Duck looked up and up at the round tower that was Mr Bigge.
âWe're going to do an opera!'
Everyone looked blankly at Mr Bigge.
âThought that would surprise you. Lots of singing, dancing and music, that's what the opening needs.'
âOpening?' said Cate.
âYes, I'm starting the Isis Apartments on July 1
, and to celebrate we're going to put on a community opera. Everyone who looks good in a costume can be in it!'
âWhich opera?' Ned added more jam to his scone.
Duck noticed that Ned liked details.
âAida, of course. I named my apartments Isis because the Egyptian temple of the goddess Isis was by the river. My apartments are by the river.'
âWhat's all that got to do with apartments and opera?' whispered Sheep to Duck.
âSo, why the opera “Aida”?' asked Cate.
âGlad you asked,' boomed Mr Bigge. âAida is a love story set in Egypt. And everybody is going to love my apartments, so â let's do Aida.'
âOf course,' mumbled Ned. âAnd there's a battle in the opera.'
âWhere will the performance be?' asked Cate.
âIn the Abbey.'
âAida in the Abbey. Wonderful!' Cate loved music. âAida is set in the temple of Isis, the Egyptian winged goddess who looked after things.'
âYes, my architect told me,' said Mr Bigge. âHe drew the plans. That's why my roof will have wings.'
âWings, like mine only bigger,' said Duck to Sheep. âWow.'
âWho will direct the Opera?' Ned asked. âWe need someone who can handle The Grand March.'
âThe Grand March,' enthused Cate. âThat's when they bring in all the animals, chests of gold, drummers and dancers captured in battle. Our farm animals will want to march.'
Duck, Sheep and Parrot looked at each other. Here was a chance.
âWonderful,' said Mr Bigge.
âPuppets would be better,' said Ned.
âWe shall have real animals AND dancing puppets,' decided Cate.
âThe only dancer around here is Pig,' snorted Parrot.
âHe did a wonderful belly dance at our concert,' said Duck who would never forget Pig's amazing twirls.
âQuite stole the show,' said Sheep.
âWhy don't you direct it, Ned?' said Mr Bigge.
âWe'll have a meeting. Ask volunteers to make costumes and be in the show,' said Cate.
âCost a fortune,' said Ned.
Cate smiled. âYou didn't buy many pencils last year Ned. There's a bit of money left. Use that.'
âI'll give you money, âsaid Mr Bigge. âBut Aida must go on at the right time. I've got TV cameras coming.'
Ned nodded. âCould we use the hayshed for making costumes and puppets and for rehearsals?'
Ned's thin face looked happy. He was going to direct an opera. Duck remembered how he felt when he had almost âdirected' the farm animals in the TV commercial. Getting people (and animals) to work together was a big job.
âJust send me the bills.' Mr Bigge left.
âMr Bigge has big ideas to sell his apartments,' said Duck to Parrot and Sheep. âThis Grand March may need our help'.