The Uglified Ducky

The Uglified Ducky by Willy Claflin, illustrated by James Stimson

Meet Maynard Moose, a moose who finds himself in a family of ducks!  Maynard wandered away from his "moosely nest" and falls asleep near a duck nest.  Mommy Ducky is alarmed when she sees how horribly ugly the baby moose is and hopes that her other eggs will come out better.  Mommy Ducky tries to raise Maynard the best she can.  She tries to teach him to quack, but he can only Gronk, Arooo!  She tries to teach him to swim, but his hooves don’t paddle well in water.  When she takes him to Dr. Quack, he worries about the lumps forming on Maynard’s head and bandages him up.  When the Ducky family practices flying, Maynard is left behind and wanders sadly into the forest.  There he finds a lake with large moose and his own special place in life.

Claflin has taken his storytelling style and transposed it whole-heartedly to the page.  It is impossible to read this book aloud and not do voices.  Each character is written with interesting sounds, unique speech patterns, and great noises are worked into the text too.  Stimson’s illustrations are modern and very funny as well, matching the tone and style of the story. 

Highly recommended for reading aloud, this book will make a storyteller of you.  I would also recommend it for anyone who has a storytelling class where you have to read a book aloud.  This one is perfection for it.  Children and adults will enjoy the tale and its style.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

All in a Day

All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Nikki McClure

Rylant’s poetry moves through a day filled with work, blue sky, kindness, faith and rest.  It is accompanied by the stunning paper cut artwork of McClure, which elevates this simple book to a new level.  The tiny details are what make this book work so well.  Children will enjoy poring over the illustrations as Rylant’s poem carries them on to the next. 

Personally, I love all of the little touches.  The untied shoelace, the beauty of birchbark, the small whorls of peas, and dandelion fuzz blowing past.  All of these small pieces combine to create a world that we will all recognize and embrace, just as Rylant’s poem unites us all in a single day.

Highly recommended, this book is a lovely gem that has a similar palate to The House in the Night.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.