Lillybeth the duckling peeking around a door
Lillybeth Placard

Daring deeds. Adventure and Peril. Friendship and love.

Enter the world of Lillybeth & Hinsberth.

Open the door to a heartwarming world of mystery and adventure presented through an amiable cast of feathered and furry characters who, at first blush, one might not believe capable of everything they accomplish. Yet over the course of their adventures these characters become much more than they seem— more and more human, or rather, humane, for within these tales may be found the comic and the tragic but neither violence nor villains, and in the end the stories never fail to demonstrate that when driven by courage, persistence, and the bonds of love and friendship, we might all— no matter how small— achieve the impossible.

Relive the dreams of childhood with these heartwarming stories.

Lillybeth and Hinsberth: The Edges of Things Book Cover
Book 1

Lillybeth & Hinsberth: The Edges of Things

A heartwarming tale of friendship, courage, and determination.

Join precocious duckling friends Lillybeth and Hinsberth as they set out on an ill-fated expedition to search for the top of the sky but instead make a harrowing discovery which will set them against the odds on an epic quest to free a new-found friend trapped in the most dire circumstances. Yet these two tenacious ducklings refuse to yield to any obstacle no matter how difficult or daunting, and they will turn their quiet little village upside down and inside out in a desperate bid to go beyond The Edges of Things. A deeply moving testament to the power of innocence, kindness, and unflappable determination, Lillybeth and Hinsberth: The Edges of Things is a timeless adventure that will leave you soaring.

Appropriate for all ages, Lillybeth and Hinsberth: The Edges of Things is 419 pages.

Lillybeth and Hinsberth: The Essence of Things Book Cover
Book 2

Lillybeth & Hinsberth: The Essence of Things

Discovery beckons, friendships blossom, and dark clouds loom as Lillybeth and Hinsberth once again waddle into adventure.

Ducks, pigs, badgers, beavers, and … monsters? Join precocious feathered friends Lillybeth and Hinsberth as they innocently set out to solve an ancient mystery only to have their quest quickly turn to an urgent imperative as they discover the answer might save the lives of a gravely ailing friend and the one who has fallen for her. Lillybeth and Hinsberth: The Essence of Things is an ultimately uplifting tale of courage, hope, and trust in the profound power of love.

Appropriate for all ages, Lillybeth and Hinsberth: The Essence of Things is 529 pages.

Grown-up Reviews

Deborah Greenwood rated it: ★★★★★
Although not a typical book I would find myself reading, the story automatically pulled me in. I enjoyed this book immensely and couldn’t put it down, the flow of the story intertwines all the characters and keeps you wanting to know more. It is a beautiful tale of how one should never give up, despite the challenges in front of them. I will be passing this onto my children to enjoy. I am very grateful I was given the opportunity to read this book, it is well written and has a story one can interpret however they choose.

Elaine Chang rated it: ★★★★★
I like how this author gives voice to animals, using symbolism to share his deep philosophical thoughts about life. This rescuing story initiated by two curious and courageous ducklings should appeal to both young and old. I am struck by the love, freedom, confidence and optimism possessed in these young minds, which eventually enabled them to melt all “Edges of Things” that had been presented to them as barriers earlier. I also like the character “Chaffy”, who manifested “a certain freedom of thoughts and action,” and the insights of wisdom seemed to be spoken through him. Every page is written beautifully with eloquent flow and vivid descriptions. All hand-drawn illustrations by author look cheerful and heartwarming. I only wish the author could do a hand-drawn picture-book version so that my preschooler would also be able to appreciate.

Deborah Galea rated it: ★★★★★
My 4th grade daughter and I loved this heartwarming, lovable, feel-good children’s story. I especially liked the story about the pig who had no friends and no-one had bothered to name. When he nursed Hinsberth the duckling back to health, Hinsberth gave him the name Milchester and became his lifelong friend. The book contains lots of good words to build a great vocabulary and its content is appealing to advanced young readers and adults.

J.D. Townsend rated it: ★★★★
Mr. Markel has written a timeless and charming tale, one whose style harkens back to a time when intelligent parents read smart stories to their kids. It shirks neither from the use of a rich vocabulary nor from some of the harsher realities of life, posing subtle philosophical questions about the nature of our world and life. Lillybeth and Hinsberth easily draws the reader into an intricately conceived world where ducks conduct themselves with more dignity than many humans. Only one complaint: I would have loved to see more of Mr. Markel’s lovely illustrations sprinkled throughout the book.

Christine Washington rated it: ★★★★★
The Essence of Things continues the adventures of Lillybeth, her friends and community into a variety of real-life situations that are not often explored, let alone so skillfully dealt with, as in this book. It is so refreshing to have a story with a protagonist, a young female duck, who is thoughtful and brave without being brazen or obnoxious. While the setting is a delightful hamlet in which a community of animals live their modest and sometimes adventuresome lives, the true-to-life interactions and situations resonate so fully that I felt as if I were truly living in this heartfelt world.

Expert Reviews

Helen (age 10) rated it: ★★★★★
Lillybeth’s and Hinsberth’s adventures and inventive spirits inspire me to create and dream big. Their story filled my heart with both sadness and happiness as they made the world a better place to live.

Franchesca (age 12) rated it: ★★★★★
I loved these books, for all of the strong, courageous, but still realistically different, ducklings that populate The Farm and beyond. I fell in love with Lillybeth, a strong, proud, and determined little duck, and Hinsberth, a smart, humorous, and studious duckling. The Edges of Things and The Essence of Things are must reads.

The Wisdom of Ducklings

The Wisdom of Ducklings

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in having me present The Wisdom of Ducklings, a story about finding your passions and pursuing your dreams.

Character Prints Available

Swinston and Company Print
Etsy Logo

Professionally matted prints of illustrations from the Lillybeth and Hinsberth novels are now available for purchase on Etsy!

New Character Illustration

Mr. Wollmund

Announcing the first illustration of a new character from the forthcoming third Lillybeth and Hinsberth novel, Lillybeth and Hinsberth: The Shores of Forever. Who is this mysterious character?