The Other Ducks

illus. by Chris Sheban. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626725027.
PreS-Gr 2—This charming story explores friendship, curiosity, and nature. This Duck and That Duck, a pair of Mallards, enjoy each other's company, "playing all spring as the rushes grew high and lush besides the wadey-water of the Little Puddle." This Duck (the little brown female) is strongly intuitive. First, she says "there should be Other Ducks…Like us, only not us." She bounds into the water calling, "I'm swimming!" without knowing exactly what swimming is (describing it as "waddling in water"). Summer passes and she discovers that the birds who are flying to the warmth are indeed the Other Ducks they have been seeking. She "ran, and hopped, and flew", and when her feathers began to itch, she decided that they needed to go "South" and will return with Other Ducks of their own. Sheban's watercolor, graphite and colored pencil illustrations are simple (gourd-shaped ducks with tiny black eyes) yet so evocative, that readers can tell what's going on even without the text. Paired with Yeomans's words, the story is almost cinematic.
VERDICT This Duck's evolving sense of "ducky"-ness offers unlimited opportunity for discussion about self-awareness, nature, and friendship. Match with Robert Bruel's Bob and Otto and Sam Swope's Gotta Go! Gotta Go!

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