cover image Pip and Zip

Pip and Zip

Elana K. Arnold, illus. by Doug Salati. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-79698-1

In a picture book set when “we all had to stay home for the whole long springtime,” a white-presenting family on a walk finds two eggs in the shallows of a park lake. The family’s brown-skinned neighbor, Ted, who has the distinct knowledge of a wildlife rehabilitation specialist, identifies them as duck eggs and lends the family an incubator. Loosely worked, digitally colored pencil vignettes by Salati (Hot Dog) show the family’s two children staying close to the incubating eggs on their kitchen table—doing homework, making art, celebrating a birthday—during the 28–day wait, which Arnold (An Ordinary Day) situates within the context of a planet in a moment of pause (“all across the neighborhood/ all around the world”). When both eggs hatch, the family is elated, and Ted is, too: “In all my years working with birds, this is a first.” And as the ducklings mature (the artist captures with care the patterns of their feathers, the graceful curves of their bodies, and their delight in each other’s company), the story cherishes this small triumph amid tension and despair, ending on an upswing that parallels their release with a second venturing-out “into the great blue world.” Ages 3–6. (July)