The Duck Who Played the Kazoo

Amy E. Sklansky, Author, Tiphanie Beeke, Illustrator , illus. by Tiphanie Beeke. Clarion $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-618-42854-0

Feeling bereft after a hurricane hits his beloved lake, the kazoo-playing hero flies south to a river where he's quickly befriended by the local ducks. They have such a good time together that when the arrival of spring prompts his return, his new pals are happy to accompany him. The title promises more than the slight story delivers: Sklansky (Goblin Groans: Poems for Halloween ) tops off rhyming quatrains with a chorus that ends in “Zu zu” to evoke the kazoo's distinctive quacky sound (“Please come./ We'll have fun,/ Zu zu”), but the toy instrument neither defines the titular duck's personality nor drives the narrative. Beeke's (The Stars Will Still Shine ) watercolors are the main attraction here, and they are well worth the price of admission. Once again, she uses gemstone colors, doll-like characters and a gently playful imagination to create utterly beguiling vignettes. While the melting tropical colors of many of her skies and backgrounds conjure a near-irresistible atmosphere, an abundance of witty details, like the migrating duck's stocking cap and scarf, or the duck's riding a turtle downstream, will hold readers' attention. Ages 3-6. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/17/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
Genre: Children's
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