Muddle & Mo's Worm Surprise

illus. by Nikki Slade Robinson. 40p. Starfish Bay. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781760360306.
PreS-Gr 1—Muddle is an impetuous, outgoing duck who is just learning that not everyone is like him. His friend Mo is a quiet goat, slow to react, and less inclined to innovate than to go along. In this welcome sequel to Muddle & Mo, Muddle hurtles onto the page and declares that he's going to make a picnic for himself and his friend. It will be "Worm Surprise," which sounds ever so much more appealing to a duck than to a goat. Mo says nothing, but his unease visibly deepens as the preparations proceed. However, both the resolution and the recipe are a happy surprise. Personality and color are packed into every illustration, helping the minimal dialogue do its work. The textured beige background on each page resembles a desert landscape on which the characters and an occasional bit of greenery are the oasis.
VERDICT An engaging read-aloud; preschoolers will enjoy the pictures and absorb valuable insights into friendship and individuality.

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