Tag: ducks

Bear Is Not Tired by Ciara Gavin

Bear Is Not Tired by Ciara Gavin

Bear Is Not Tired by Ciara Gavin (InfoSoup)

This is the second book featuring Bear and his adopted family of ducks. In the first book, the bear and ducks had to figure out a home that worked for all of them. In this follow up, bear is getting steadily more and more sleepy as winter approaches. But ducks don’t hibernate and Bear worried about missing out on things throughout an entire season. So Bear decided not to sleep, but the ducks started to notice that Bear was acting differently. Bear tried and tried to stay awake, but nothing seemed to work. Finally Mama Duck pulled Bear aside and promised that if he slept through the winter, he would not miss a thing. And it was true!

Gavin has written another winning picture book about the unusual pairing of a family of ducks and a solitary bear. Here the story focuses on Bear and his unique need to sleep through the cold months. It’s a story that will speak to families who have people who respond differently to things, who like different activities, but still want to be with one another. Perhaps the ducks’ ways of including Bear in everything despite him being asleep will inspire new ways of thinking for human families to stay close even when they are doing different things.

Gavin’s art work has a lovely gauzy quality to it, giving Bear his huge softness. Meanwhile the little ducks are done in firmer lines. All of them have personalities that brighten the page and enhance the story. The little ducks are all characters, and it is clear through their body language alone how much all of the animals love one another.

A lovely winter read, perfect for curling up on a cozy couch or snuggled at bedtime. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Duck’s Vacation by Gilad Soffer

Ducks Vacation by Gilad Soffer

Duck’s Vacation by Gilad Soffer (InfoSoup)

Duck is out on the beach having a relaxing vacation when suddenly, you arrive. And you turn the page! Duck is frustrated because he is on vacation and doesn’t want any kind of bother to happen. And you keep turning pages! As the pages turn, some bad things do start to happen from a bird pooping on Duck’s head to a crab pinching his toes. Then people start to arrive and the beach gets very crowded. It starts to rain and Duck says that it can’t get worse, but it certainly can. There could be snow! Or maybe pirates! Are you willing to stop turning the pages and not find out what happens next?

Originally published in Hebrew, this is a book that will have young readers and listeners giggling as the pages are turned. Duck is such a grumpy thing from the moment the first page is turned. Of course this is a trope used in one of my favorite childhood books, The Monster at the End of This Book. The reaction of characters to a reader turning pages really works well. The reader controls the pace of the reaction, and can delight in causing things to happen in a static book. It is also a set up that works really well read aloud.

Soffer’s illustrations play up the humor to top effect. The crowds of people who swarm the beach almost obscure Duck, the snow turns his bill blue, and the pirates, well he’s not cold anymore! Duck also has a range of emotions that he can display thanks to his expressive eyebrows that are sure to be in some sort of grimace.

Funny and a great choice to share with a preschool group. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Feiwel and Friends.

Review: Bear and Duck by Katy Hudson

Bear and Duck by Katy Hudson

Bear and Duck by Katy Hudson (InfoSoup)

Bear doesn’t want to be a bear anymore. He’s sick of sleeping during the winter, his fur is too hot in the summer, and there are all of those angry bees. Then Bear notices a family of ducks walking along and decides that he could be a duck instead! So he joins their line and starts acting like a duck. But when the adult duck notices Bear in the line of ducklings, he gets sent away. Bear does get a book on how to be the perfect duck. So he starts to work on it. The first step is building a nest and sitting on an egg. But Bear loses his egg in the twigs. Second step is swimming, but Bear splashes too much. The third step is flying, ouch! Bear is thoroughly discouraged and climbs up a tree to hide. From there, he starts to show both himself and Duck the good things about being a bear after all.

This is Hudson’s first book. It has a great freshness to it and an exceptionally light touch. The humor in the book feels unforced and natural. In the middle of the book there is a change to the format focusing on the rules of being a duck, which creates its own pacing and energy. The ending feels organic and real as both Duck and Bear together discover the joy of climbing trees and sharing a treat with a new friend.

Hudson’s illustrations are ink and watercolor which combine into friendly images of flowering meadows, furry bears and swimming ducks. They have the fine details of ink and then the washes of watercolor paint. Hudson enjoys the visual humor of Bear in the line of ducklings and then other times creates touching moments where you can see the characters forming new bonds.

This is the second picture book about bears and ducks trying to live together that has been released this year. Pair it with Room for Bear by Ciara Gavin for a double duck and bear treat. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins.

Review: Room for Bear by Ciara Gavin

room for bear

Room for Bear by Ciara Gavin (In InfoSoup)

Bear visited the Duck family one spring and then never left. He fit in perfectly in many ways, except for their house which was not designed for someone Bear’s size. So Bear set off in search of a perfect space for all of them. But it was hard to find a place that worked. Places that fit Bear perfectly did not work for the Ducks. Where the Ducks were happy, Bear was not. Then Bear thought that maybe it was because HE did not fit in with the Ducks after all, so he went away to find a home just for him. The Ducks missed Bear horribly, and Bear missed the Ducks. Finally, Bear found just the right huge cave for himself and then came up with a clever Duck-sized solution that would let them all live together happily.

This picture book is about families and what makes a family. Told from the point of view of animals, it speaks beyond cultures and skin color to a feeling where differences in general are embraced and honored. At the same time, the book honors the feeling a person can have of fitting in just fine sometimes and in other situations feeling that they are an outsider. These complex feelings are caught on the page without over dramatizing them. The result is a book the embraces adoptive and blended families of all sorts without making the picture too rosy and uncomplicated.

Gavin’s illustrations are done with a whimsical sense of humor. From Bear trying to fit into a tiny and tippy Duck boat as a home to the unhappy Ducks sitting around the table forlornly missing Bear, she captures emotions clearly on the page as well as the dilemmas of differences. The illustrations are softly painted with fine ink lines that allow both the big bear and small ducks to have personality galore.

A winning read that speaks to all families and particularly adoptive and blended families. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Goodnight, Already! by Jory John

goodnight already

Goodnight, Already! by Jory John and Benji Davies

Bear is so very tired, all he wants to do is go to sleep.  But his next door neighbor, Duck, feels exactly the opposite and has never felt more awake as he reads a book on staying awake and drinks a pot of coffee.  As Bear climbs into bed and pulls up his blanket, ready to snooze, Duck comes over for a visit.  Duck offers all sorts of ideas of what they could do together, but all Bear wants to do is sleep.  Just when Bear is again about to fall asleep, Duck returns with a new idea to bake something.  But Bear once again sends him on his way.  When Duck comes in for a third time, Bear has had enough!   The evening though has time for one final ironic twist by the end of the book, one that will get readers giggling.

John captures both the very essence of being tired and wanting nothing more than to sleep and the zany energy that comes with insomnia.  It is that dynamic being thrust together in this picture book that leads to the hilarity.  It also helps that John has impeccable comic timing throughout the book, using repeating themes to really make the scenes pop.  The pace switches from one character to the next beautifully, the dozy slow of Bear and the yapping zing of Duck.

Davies’ illustrations capture the same shifts in energy and pace.  Duck’s entire home is bright yellow while Bear is surrounded by sleepy blues.  The silly additions of coffee and a book to stay awake make the situation even funnier.  The illustrations are deceptively simple, making this a very approachable book for children, one that conveys its humor right from the cover.

Perfect for kids who both love bedtime and hate it, as well as for their sleepy parents.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Swim, Duck, Swim! by Susan Lurie

swim duck swim

Swim, Duck, Swim! by Susan Lurie, illustrated by Murray Head

Told in rhyme, this picture book illustrated with large photographs explores one day in the life of a duckling who just won’t get into the water.  His parents are with him, encouraging him to try and so are all of the other fuzzy ducklings that are already swimming around.  But he is not sure that swimming is for him.  He might sink!  He hates to be wet!  And this might just be the perfect time for a nap. But with his parents encouraging him to keep on trying, there is suddenly a splash and he is swimming around merry and proud. 

Lurie’s rhymes have just the right amount of bounce and energy.  She captures the obstinate toddler who just won’t do what his parents are pushing him to try.  Children and parents alike will relate to this battle of wills where patient and positive parenting wins out in the end.  The text is simple and jaunty, keeping the duckling clearly an animal but giving words and emotions to his actions.

I’m a huge fan of photographs in children’s picture books.  Particularly when they are done as beautifully as Head’s.  The large format of all of the illustrations works beautifully, and I appreciate that they run all the way to the edge of the page rather than being framed in white.  The effect is an expansive one, these are pictures that pull you in until you too are pond-side and cheering on the duckling.

A great pick for kids heading to their first swimming lessons, this book would also make a nice addition to story times on ducks or trying something new.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: A Book of Babies by Il Sung Na

book of babies

A Book of Babies by Il Sung Na

A duck takes readers on a tour of different sorts of animal babies.  The duck heads around the world, visiting baby lions, baby lizards, baby polar bears, and baby kangaroos among many others.   A trait of each baby is mentioned to distinguish them.  Baby zebras walk right away.  Fish are born with lots of brothers and sisters.  Seahorse fathers carry their babies in a pouch.  These small details add up to a kaleidoscope of different animals and offer lots of opportunities for parents to talk more about each animals as they share the book.

This author of The Book of Sleep always fills her books with rich illustrations.  Here her gentle poem carries the duck from one place to the next, but it is the illustrations that make this such a special gem.  Done in mixed media, they feature a variety of textured papers that become ice bergs, tree trunks and even the sky.  He manages to make colors that seem to emit light, glowing on the page. 

Perfect for toddler bedtimes, this book is radiant with baby animals.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.