The Digger and the Duckling

Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins/. Feb. 2022. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063062542.
PreS-Gr 1–Following The Digger and the Flower, Kuefler is back with another sweet message, this one featuring a lost duckling who finds her way into the construction site—and the hearts of the busy trucks. The anthropomorphic trucks love to work and are distressed when the duckling interferes with their tasks. They’re eager to get rid of her, but Digger is reluctant to remove the duckling, sure that her mother will soon come for her. As time passes and the mother never shows up, the trucks begin to appreciate the duckling for her contributions and accept her as one of their own. Even when the duckling grows and must leave, the bond continues. The simple text subtly conveys important lessons to young readers and their caregivers, indicating the loss of a family as well as acceptance of others. The book also serves as a good launching point for discussing what makes a family. The background illustrations are sparse and gray scale, but the trucks’ colors are bright and bold. The passage of time is best seen through the trucks’ slowly softening facial expressions and the duckling’s growth and color changes.
VERDICT Recommended, and not just for truck enthusiasts.

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