Just Ducks!

Nicola Davies, Author, Salvatore Rubbino, Illustrator
Nicola Davies, illus. by Salvatore Rubbino. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5936-3
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While there’s much to be said for interactive, hands-on learning, Davies’s (Talk, Talk, Squawk) young narrator builds an impressive body of knowledge about ducks simply by watching the birds that live on and around the river that runs through her town. She knows about their eating habits (there’s “dabbling” and “upending”), their wooing and parenting (“I like it when a drake shows off his handsome feathers to the ducks, trying to get one to be his girlfriend”), even how they sleep—or not (“one night at choir practice, we heard them quacking softly outside the window as they ate worms off the lawn in the dark!”). The text, set in a beautiful typeface that recalls rippling water, is pitch-perfect throughout, enthusiastic and confident, knowing without becoming precocious (the girl’s commentary is amplified with factual nuggets set in small type). Rubbino’s (A Walk in London) watercolors, which range from closeup portraits to gorgeous waterscapes, combine a sketchbook immediacy and economy with an appreciation for the ducks’ streamlined shape, handsome coloration, and placid and genial demeanor. Positively ducky all around. Ages 5–up. (Mar.)
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