cover image Mr. Duck Means Business

Mr. Duck Means Business

Tammi Sauer, illus. by Jeff Mack, S&S/Wiseman, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-8522-8

Mr. Duck enjoys solitude and follows a strict routine in his pond. "At precisely 8:01, he would glide across the perfectly still water," flanked by hand-painted signs that read "No Visitors Welcome" and "Don't Even Think About It." Everything changes one day when a pig does a cannonball off the dock, disrupting the tranquillity. "Mr. Duck [is] all set to give Pig a strongly worded speech regarding private property," when a delighted cow dives in, too, followed by a goat, horse, and chickens. Mack (Hush Little Polar Bear) plays up both the barnyard crew's aquatic glee (at one point the pig and cow do a synchronized swimming routine) as well as Mr. Duck's party-pooper reactions. Amid the festivities, a fuzzy yellow peep finally notices Duck's displeasure: "Perhaps we've overstayed our welcome." Mr. Duck resumes his routine, but, predictably, feels lonesome. He paints a revised sign allowing "noise" for two set hours every afternoon. The animals' merriment is always tangible, yet the fuddy-duddy's new regulations don't really redeem his preceding grumpiness. Even with his late-in-the-game compromise, Mr. Duck is never quite likable. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)