cover image All Night Near Water

All Night Near Water

Jim Arnosky. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22629-8

Through limpid watercolors and tender prose, Arnosky (Every Autumn Comes the Bear; Otters Under Water) magnifies a routine moment in nature until it assumes exceptional proportions. A mother mallard leads her dozen ducklings ``around the shoreline weeds, through a driftwood maze'' to a sandbar, where the whole family will spend its first night away from the nest. While the mother settles for the night, the wakeful ducklings find plenty of thrills-the sounds of frogs, the flitting of bats, the flickering of fireflies. Finally, the mallard softly calls her young, ``covers them with her wings and presses them against her sides.'' The tale turns from bedtime story to reveille as the sun rises and the ducklings dip into the lake for a morning swim. A polished, surely paced presentation. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)