cover image Duck


Randy Cecil, . . Candlewick, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3072-0

Like the star of Cecil's Gator , Duck is a carousel creature who longs for a new spin on life—she yearns to fly like the flocks she sees flapping by. When a wayward duckling adopts Duck as a mentor and friend, Duck rises to the occasion, literally, by teaching her young charge to fly. As Duckling succeeds at his lessons, however, Duck realizes that she risks never seeing her friend again.Cecil employs simple sentences and brief exchanges to infuse his quirky duck-out-of-water scenario with a plethora of universal emotions: “ 'Now remember to be polite,' she said to Duckling as she straightened some of his new feathers. 'You're going to do fine.' ” Cecil's finely brush-textured oil paintings, a mix of round spot illustrations and full-page scenes, present a Victorian-looking amusement park, which after the opening page is devoid of children, thus contributing to a mood of mysterious after-hours magic. In what has become the artist's signature style, dusky hues—grays, greens, browns, golds—prevail, helping draw attention to the whiteness of the ducks' wide wings. Ages 3-5. (Feb.)