cover image Ducks!


Deborah Underwood, illus. by T.L. McBeth. Holt/Godwin, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-12709-9

Captivated by a butterfly, a duckling wanders away from its three siblings in the pond. But when the duckling turns back to rejoin the group, it’s panic-stricken to find that the pond now has “NO DUCKS!” Readers follow along as Underwood and McBeth (cocreators of Ogilvy) take the pert protagonist through a series of funny false leads: single-plane, minimalist black-line vignettes, with accents in orange and sky blue, begin with a hopeful interrogative—“DUCKS?” —only to be followed by a crestfallen “NO DUCKS” (the all-caps typography makes the mouth-tickling repetition of “ducks” all the more satisfying). A promising “SQUAWK SQUAWK” belongs to a brass band; web-footed footprints belong to a kid in flippers. After registering emotions ranging from despondency to “give me a break,” the duckling is inspired to tack up a “LOST DUCKS” notice on a utility pole, then realizes the siblings have done the same, and a joyful reunion ensues at the pond. Get ready to quack a smile—or several. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Feb.) [/em]