cover image Don't Fidget a Feather!

Don't Fidget a Feather!

Erica Silverman. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-782685-2

One-upmanship goes toe-to-toe (or web-to-web?) with camaraderie when Duck and Gander compete for the title of ``one and only, true and forever champion of champions.'' Duck can swim faster and Gander can fly higher, but a freeze-in-place contest (``Don't move. Don't talk. Don't fidget a feather'') will settle the matter once and for all. Silverman (Big Pumpkin) deploys lighthearted repetitions (``Duck did not move a muscle. She did not quack a quack. She did not fidget one feather'') to portray Duck and Gander holding firm against playful rabbits, curious crows and even a gust of wind. When a hungry fox hoists the motionless Gander into a boiling stew, however, friendship prevails, and Duck leaps forward to save the day. Dappled illustrations suggest filtered sunlight and bucolic countryside, while Fox arrives in a flourish of russet. Duck and Gander, with their comic expressions, are an endearing pair, and Schindler (Great-aunt Ida and Her Great Dane Doc) does an especially good job of reconciling the prevailing humor with the menace presented by Fox. A well-paced picture book, surefooted in both text and illustrations. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)