The clumsy duckling overcomes his growing pains and gets the girl in this wonderfully silly story. Mother mallard gives flying and swimming lessons to her seven young drakes, but Otis always gets distracted by other things. Tadpoles and hummingbirds are fascinating to him—so interesting, in fact, that although he learns to fly he somehow misses the landing lessons. All seven brothers are smitten by Violet, who lives on the same lake. Each shows off his own talents trying to win her favor, but she dreams of a daring duck and a life of adventure. All but Otis give up. Instead, he picks her a bouquet and then crash-lands in the mud during delivery. When she laughs at him, he wanders into the forest and spends a lonely winter. Upon his return, he’s a changed duck—“Jack Quack, Renegade Drake. Prince of the Forest, King of the Lake.” Otis still has mishaps, but now they are seen as daring rescues. Will Violet see through his disguise to the duck she has always dreamed of? Nolan has a masterful pace, mixing the humorous with the adventurous, and making Otis the hero of it all. The marvelously funny illustrations show all of Otis’s clumsy mistakes and rescues. Newcomer Wesson’s watercolors are especially vibrant and detailed, especially in the ducks’ facial expressions. Jack Quack is sure to take off. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7614-5091-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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She’s back! Mercy, the porcine wonder, is back in all her buttered-toast eating glory. It’s Saturday, time for a ride in the pink convertible. But, does Mercy like to ride or drive? Drive! Only Mrs. Watson’s promise of extra helpings of hot buttered toast can get this clever pig to scoot across the front seat and enjoy the weekly adventure. And when next-door neighbor Baby Lincoln hankers for a little adventure of her own, the fun really begins. From the toast icons that surround the page numbers, to faux-tape spine, and hilariously gaudy over-the-top illustrations, this is a throw-back in the best sense of the word. When Mercy ends up sitting on top of Mr. Watson in the driver’s seat and Baby has to crawl over the seat to help out, it’s hard not to think of Lucy, Ethel and Ricky caught in another pickle. All’s well that ends well, of course, and that means everyone can celebrate with a stack of toast and an extra pat of butter. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-2332-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2006

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