Peep and Ducky

David Martin, Author, David Walker, Illustrator
David Martin, illus. by David Walker. Candlewick, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5039-1
Board Books - 24 pages - 978-0-7636-7243-0
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Martin (Let's Have a Tree Party!) covers the highs and lows of a play date in the park with this story of two young friends—a tiny yellow duckling and an even tinier blue bird. The rhymed verse has a playfulness that echoes the birds' light rambunctiousness: " ‘Play cars,' says Peep./ ‘Beep, beep,' says Ducky./ ‘I'm a jeep,' says Peep./ ‘I'm a trucky,' says Ducky." Walker (Bears in Beds) gives the friends lumpy bodies and expressive dot eyes; loose black outlines help both the birds and certain key props (a slide, a picnic table) stand out against the soft, painterly backgrounds. There are some bumps (both literal and figurative) along the way, but nothing that some simple, earnest apologies can't fix. It's a quiet but well-observed portrait of a budding friendship—including that all-too-familiar moment of truth when "Momma says, ‘Time...'/ And Poppa says, ‘To go go!'/ But Ducky and Peep cry,/ ‘No, no, no!' " Parents ought to find it a useful model of what a successful outing among friends looks like. Ages 1–4. (Feb.)
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