cover image Ducky


Eve Bunting. Clarion Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-75185-5

As the author's note explains, a true story inspired this plucky survival tale: in 1992, a crate of 29,000 bath toys washed overboard from a Hong Kong cargo ship, and hundreds of the toys have since turned up on beaches, primarily in Alaska. Here one of those toys gives his account. ""I am a yellow plastic duck and I am in great danger,"" begins Ducky. Bunting (Smoky Night) uses simple declarative sentences that emphasize the plump duck's fear and isolation. He is nearly eaten by a shark and his brightly colored toy friends inadvertently abandon him. Finally buffeted onto a beach where many of his shipwrecked pals are likewise drifting ashore, Ducky is picked up by a friendly boy who takes him home to the bathtub, his destiny. Caldecott winner Wisniewski (Golem), using his celebrated cut-paper technique, employs a jovial palette that promises a happy ending. Textured plexiglass gives the multicolored ocean a remarkably watery feeling, and the duck is endowed with subtle, poignant changes of expression. This unusual bathtime story will easily float with the target audience. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)