cover image Dino Duckling

Dino Duckling

Alison Murray. Little, Brown, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-316-51313-5

With her signature retro art, Murray (Hare and Tortoise) gives “The Ugly Duckling” a prehistoric spin. Dino Duckling’s differences are on display even before he’s hatched—in the book’s opening scene, his pale purple egg towers over those of his soon-to-be-siblings. But Mama Duck is always there to reassure: “Big and wide,/ sleek and slim,/ we’re a family/ and we all fit in,” she tells her tiny yellow hatchlings and hulking blue tyrannosaur. Mama Duck also teaches her children to “celebrate their differences,” and Murray shows the ducklings gleefully diving off of Dino Duckling’s tail into the pond below. When it’s time to fly south to a warmer climate, Dino Duckling’s lack of feathers seems to be a difference he can’t overcome, and he worries that he’s been left behind. Of course, his fears are unfounded. “We’re a family, so we’ll find a way,” says Mama Duck (it turns out that Dino Duckling is both a good brother and an effective raft). Murray’s big-hearted tale and bold screenprints offer a comforting message of acceptance and solidarity. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)