The Bear and the Duck

Eerdmans. Oct. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780802855558.
K-Gr 2–Duck’s day is not off to a good start. When his take-off goes horribly wrong, he gets stuck in a tangle of branches. Bear’s day is not off to a good start either. He is awoken from his winter’s slumber by a big racket outside his den. When he goes to investigate, he finds Duck, who fears the worst from a bear. His fears are unfounded. Bear not only rescues Duck, but gives him shelter, food, and water. As Duck recovers, he and Bear spend their time telling stories and splashing in the pond until the day Duck feels well enough to join a flock heading South. He tells his friend, “Thank you Bear! I’ll see you soon. Don’t worry—I’ll be back.” Bear does worry he won’t ever see his friend again, but soon enough hibernation supersedes everything. In the spring, Bear visits the pond for a bath and nap in the sun where he is happily awoken by the quacking of his friend. Life is good now that they are together again. Angeli’s outstanding wood-engraved illustrations effectively give life and personality to her characters while her palette of colors is just right, especially for her landscapes. Bear has all the grumpiness of an Eeyore, and the delight the characters take in each other’s company is right there on the page.
VERDICT A sweet tale of an unexpected but meaningful friendship, a mild lesson in patience, and a message of caring—this tale is recommended for all collections.

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