Duck on a Tractor

David Shannon. Blue Sky, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-61941-7
The star of 2002’s Duck on a Bike decides that the tractor is next on his transportation bucket list, and he invites all of his barnyard friends to join his joyride. When the motorized pile-on reaches the local diner, the humans lunching there are flabbergasted. The exuberant physicality of Shannon’s characterizations is always a treat, but he’s not entirely successful in surmounting the challenges of his premise. He uses some imaginative framings to bring the animals onto the tractor (Goat climbs up one of the giant tires, Horse sprawls across the hood), but the compositions end up unfocused. He also brings back the refrain-like motif from Duck on a Bike, in which his characters say one thing and think another. But that same motif is given to all the awestruck humans as well, causing the story to drag a bit (although the guy who says, “I must be seeing things,” while thinking “Oh, no—not again!” must have quite the backstory). The funny ending, involving an empty gas tank, leaves the humans concluding that the vision was all an illusion. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/20/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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