Post by Mark T. Locker.
Perhaps you heard about this: in 1992, over 28,000 rubber ducks, beavers, and other bath toys were washed off a freighter at sea. For years to follow, these toys were washing up on beaches around the world. I am a huge fan of flotsam and jetsam; whenever I take a beach trip I spend half the time (at the very least!) with my head down hunting for treasures. These two books discuss, in very different ways, the lives of these little rubber toys which washed to sea.
Ten Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle
You know Eric Carle. Even if you think you don’t, you do. His distinctive style has brought such classics at the Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Grumpy Ladybug. Ten Little Rubber Ducks is, according to the book jacket, inspired by the news of the wayward duckies, lost at sea. Eric Carle’s assessment of their fate is that they wandered far, and at least one is adopted by a family of real flesh-and-feather ducks. I find this highly implausible. Hands down, all kids’ favorite feature is the squeaky button on the back which sounds like—you guessed it—a rubber ducky.
Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn
Well, the title pretty much tells it all, doesn’t it? I first read this as an article in Harper’s magazine a number of years ago. Now journalist Donovan Hohn has fleshed out his fascinating story into a full-length book. If you have never thought about the secret lives of beachcombers, or the role of the ocean’s currents, or little rubber toys, it’s time you did. Donovan will tell you why.