cover image Duck Tents

Duck Tents

Lynne Berry, ., illus. by Hiroe Nakata . Holt, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-8696-6

With pitch-perfect rhymes that trip merrily along each page and airy, clever watercolors, this companion to Berry and Nakata's Duck Skates and Duck Dunks is infectious. Five ducks bravely go camping in their “small backyard,” setting up duck tents, going fishing (“The pole goes zoom. The fish leaps high./ 'We lost the big one!' five ducks cry”) and toasting marshmallows (“Outside crispy, inside sticky,/ Chewy, gooey, finger-licky”). The climax comes when the ducks are frightened into their tents after hearing a “whoo-whoo-whoooooo” after night falls. Dressed in overalls and straw hats, Nakata's ducks—with their thumbprint-shaped bodies and stick feet—are remarkably expressive. In a standout nocturnal spread, only the ducks' beaks and eyes, clearly registering worried anticipation, are visible against their midnight blue tents, as they “can't help but hear/ Sounds of the nighttime, loud and clear.” In the reassuring denouement, a page turn away, the ducks pile into a tent together—just right for keeping nighttime noises at bay. Readers will be left with a taste for some outdoor adventures of their own. Ages 3–5. (May)