Beaky Barnes and the Devious Duck

Penguin Workshop. Jan. 2024. 128p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593094792.
Gr 2-4–In this follow up to Beaky Barnes, a new duck comes to town, looking to swindle the inhabitants out of their hard-earned money with lousy inventions and devious scams. “Zany” can’t even begin to describe this book as ordinary life quickly becomes disrupted, with the a not-so-bright police inspector from the previous installment constantly falling victim to such scams as paper shoes, strength elixir, and imitation ointment—that all have hilarious results and outcomes. The overall piece seems to be a cautionary tale about false advertising, which slightly contradicts the other story line about an inventor who is genuinely trying to make new innovations that aren’t working as designed. Regardless, all the many threads tie together in a quirky finish with that duck finally learning a lesson. Stein’s signature illustration style is fully on display—his scribble-heavy design working well with the madcap antics of his characters.
VERDICT Recommended for libraries looking for lighthearted and silly titles.

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