cover image Little White Duck

Little White Duck

Walt Whippo. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-03227-8

Whether readers were first introduced to this classic 1950 kids' song by Danny Kaye, Burl Ives or Raffi, Paley's (What's That Sound, Woolly Bear?) full-bleed, double-spread collages will bring it vividly to life all over again (those who are making a first acquaintance will find the music included). Paley stages the song as a play. As a guitar-playing mouse narrates, a duck, a frog and a black bug are successively introduced as happily ""doing what [they] oughter... in the water."" Then along comes a little red snake who clears the room, so to speak, by scaring the duck and frog and eating the bug, leaving the song to conclude, ""Boo! Hoo! Hoo!"" But the book itself ends on an up beat, with the bug, along with the rest of the cast, taking a bow as the animal audience clamors, ""Bravo."" Working with cut paper, crayon, pastel and washes of watercolor, Paley creates spread after spread of bold, dramatically cropped tableaux; her strong, graphic lines and compositions are handsomely tempered by the rich, aquatic-inspired palette. Her frog is an especially appealing creation, gleefully stretching his spotted emerald body across the length of the page, and registering expressions that range from languor to alarm. Luminous and full of movement, this art will demand repeated viewings. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)