cover image The Pelican Can!

The Pelican Can!

Toni Yuly. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-49781-7

Rhyming questions are answered with the triumphant titular cry in a work that displays the pelican’s power and balletic grace. “Who can see it’s time to eat?” Yuly begins, as two pelican adults and a hungry nestling are seen in silhouette against long, torn-paper strips of tangerine and lavender. A page turn later—“The pelican can! The pelican can!”—an ink-stroked adults swoops from the nest toward the water. The bird pulls itself across the next spread (“Who can soar down close to the shore?”), peers from above (“Who can spy small fish with their eye?”), and plunges into the water, its wings tucked close. Big red letters mark the moment of impact: “SPLASH!” As the sun sets, new spreads show the return of the adult, its pouch full, and the young pelican’s now relaxed body, ready to sleep. Via this closely observed day-in-the-life tale, the pelican’s natural behavior supplies all the visual drama the story needs. Ages 4–8. (May)