cover image MUCKY DUCK


Sally Grindley, , illus. by Neal Layton. . Bloomsbury, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58234-821-6

Mucky Duck starts out snowy white, but her name makes sense after a few pages of this silly romp. She and her human playmate, Oliver Dunkley, start their day in the kitchen, where they measure out flour and strawberry jam. "Mucky Duck liked cooking. Pouring and mixing, rolling and shaping." A turn of the page reveals that the klutzy waterfowl has poured a gooey concoction on her head: "Oh you Mucky Duck!" Next, Mucky and Oliver go out in the yard. "Mucky Duck liked soccer. Dribbling and tackling, shooting and diving." This time they both land in a mud puddle. Undeterred, they get out some art supplies. Mucky steps in a can of red paint. The pratfalls continue until Oliver's parents give the boy and duck a good scrubdown. Layton (Rover), whose loose and whimsical style suits Mucky's casual slovenliness, pays attention to the accumulation of dirt. After each incident, Mucky and Oliver wear a few more splotches of color, enabling readers to recall what the playmates have been doing. Grindley (Nothing Scares Us) repeats the punch line "Oh you Mucky Duck!" with each new mess. Although the energy flags at the conclusion (Oliver and Mucky read this very book, while spilling their milk and cookies), Grindley and Layton can rely on their simple repetition to generate giggles. Ages 3-6. (June)