Duck Says Don’t!

Alison Ritchie, illus. by Hannah George. Good Books, $16.99 (26p) ISBN 978-1-56148-745-5
Temporarily put in charge of a pond that’s home to a happy and diverse aquatic community, Duck goes overboard, instigating a series of unpopular rules that he posts on imperious signs that make it impossible—legally and literally—to have any fun. (“Then where can I fish?” asks the chagrined Kingfisher. “Somewhere else!” retorts Duck.) It isn’t until the other pond residents vote with their feet that Duck understands the importance of consent of the governed. (Incidentally, 2011’s Mr. Duck Means Business features nearly the same plot.) Ritchie’s (Me and My Mom!) brisk, enthusiastic text is a great read-aloud, handily setting up George’s colorful, comically choreographed, and populous spreads of pond life (even the little dragonflies are expressive). One note: the ending may strike some adults as almost heretical in this age of highly professionalized children. Rather than absorbing his experience as a way to become a better leader next time, Duck throws in the towel, telling the pond’s returning owner, “Being in charge is much too hard!” That kind of attitude won’t get you into a competitive college, Duck. Ages 3–7. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2012
Release date: 06/01/2012
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