cover image IT'S QUACKING TIME!


Martin Waddell, , illus. by Jill Barton. . Candlewick, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2738-6

Suitable for an Easter basket or as a gift for a new sibling, this deceptively simple story about the hatching of a duckling is a spring charmer. When his mother lays a new blue egg, Duckling has plenty of questions for his parents and relatives. "Did I come in one of those eggs?" he asks. "You did," says his father. "Your egg was lovely!" Waddell (the Little Bear books) captures just the right tone and gives just enough information to a sibling-in-waiting. When Duckling asks Auntie, "How did I fit in my egg?," she answers matter-of-factly, "You were much smaller then." Duckling protests that he doesn't remember his egg, but his grandfather chimes in, "I don't remember mine either," and assures him that all ducks come from eggs. Duckling's patience is rewarded when the baby cracks his shell and smiles up at him with time-honored, second child adoration. Barton's (the Baby Duck books) engaging watercolors underscore Duckling's initial innocence and gradual acceptance of his new role in the family. You can see the pride in his chubby duckling face as he announces to his Auntie, "Our egg jiggled a bit." Both art and text work together to present the family's cozy nest near the shimmering blue water as a reassuring place to celebrate life's changes with a joyful "Quack-quack-quack-quack!" Ages 4-8. (Mar.)