Sitting Ducks

Michael Bedard, Author Grosset & Dunlap $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-22847-6
Bedard pits the iconic, yellow-billed white ducks featured in his posters against a carnivorous world in this alligator-y allegory. At first, the waterfowl don't seem to have a prayer. They hatch on a conveyor belt in a vast alligator-run factory, then their predators ship them off to Ducktown, where friendly placards encourage them to ""Eat a Lot"" and ""Fatten Up."" (Bedard doesn't specify how the victims vanish from their seeming utopia, but alligator restaurants proudly serve duck soup.) Things change after a soft-hearted alligator adopts a duck and lets his pet in on a secret that could save Ducktown: physically fit birds can fly to freedom. Bedard, who styles his unlikely pair as soul mates, practices the same understatement seen in Tim Egan's Friday Night at Hodges' Cafe. His story can be read as a comment on Big Brother, vegetarianism or star-crossed lovers; his dry wit is such that the duck wanders into a ""Decoy Cafe"" modeled after Hopper's Nighthawks. Regardless, the narrative is primarily a vehicle for the crisp, mechanical artwork. Bedard uses clean, clear colors, hard edges and pebbled surfaces to construct his smooth-feathered, identical ducks and pudgy, Gumby-green gators. The strongest personality belongs to the anonymous alligator hero, who quells his hankering for his friend the duck by ""dreaming about chicken."" All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-0-698-11897-3
Prebound-Glued - 40 pages - 978-0-613-45548-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-22064-4
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-7445-9424-9
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