cover image RUBY IN HER OWN TIME


Jonathan Emmett, , illus. by Rebecca Harry. . Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-439-57915-5

Emmett's (Bringing Down the Moon )cuddly tale stars a mother and father duck who lovingly watch over the five eggs in their nest until hatching time arrives. But when only four ducklings break out of their shells, Mother and Father Duck assure the feathered siblings that baby number five will arrive "in its own time." The patient parents never pressure their fifth-born to keep up with the others ("We'll call her Ruby... because she's small and precious," says her mother). And though she's late to the party in many respects, Ruby eventually catches up and soars beyond her siblings on bold wings. The sweet, comforting tone of Emmett's text will be as welcome as a favorite blanket at bedtime. Bearing a resemblance to Leo the Late Bloomer , the story conveys the mother's knowing, steadfast support of Ruby, even as Father Duck has a few doubts ("Will it ever hatch?" he asks, "Will she ever swim?"). Harry's (the Noisy Farm Babies board books; the Ella the Elephant board books) pastel illustrations, featuring fuzzy line-edges and warm, inviting tones, capture the brightness of a sunny day at the pond. And her fluffy ducklings are irresistible, sporting downy yellow feathers and wide orange beaks. All ages. (Feb.)