cover image Monkey and Duck Quack Up!

Monkey and Duck Quack Up!

Jennifer Hamburg, illus. by Edwin Fotheringham. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-64514-0

With a three-day cruise on the line as a prize, Monkey drafts his friend Duck to participate in a rhyming contest. Two more challenges quickly emerge: phlegmatic Duck is the exact opposite of hyperactive Monkey, and all Duck wants to say is “Quack.” It’s a recipe for last place, unless Monkey can turn Duck’s deficits into a winning ticket. Although little more than an extended sketch, the story has its rewards. Fotheringham’s (A Home for Mr. Emerson) bright, bold artwork has intriguing textures and reinforces the characters’ Odd Couple personalities. Hamburg (A Moose That Says Moo) gives the story serious read-aloud potential as she combines the repetition of “Quack” with Monkey’s struggle to stay calm (“Okay. Look, Duck./ Clearly you’re a wee bit stuck./ Stand up straight and lace your shoes./ We MUST be on that three-day cruise!”). The final joke (spoiler alert: Duck’s vocabulary is more extensive than he lets on) is tailor-made for a womp-womp-womp “sad trombone” sound effect. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jennifer DeChiara, Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Pat Hackett. (Feb.)