Saturday, March 15, 2008


Article by Scott Tingley - March 15, 2008

“Jack likes the Ducks.”

“Jack likes the Ducks,” she says. That is the sole contribution by the other senior staff member of this blog. I’m not sure if the Mom is pulling her weight on this one, but she speaks the truth.

My son is 14 moths old. He has been walking since 9 ½ months, running since 10 ½ months and climbing EVERYTHING since 12 months. I went to the bedroom for 15 seconds last Saturday and I come back to find him standing in the middle of the kitchen table. Not a chair in sight! I have no idea how he does it. My older daughter didn’t even start to walk until about 14 months, but she was chattering away at 9 months. They are sort of opposites that way. My boy, Jack is really picking up steam with the talking though. In just the last couple of weeks he has begun to say the usual beginner stuff, but his favorite word is DUCK. Most things are “duck”. His toy motor bike is “beek”. Trucks (his favourite thing – how do boys know this? I couldn’t care less about trucks. He has lots around, but where does the obsession come from) are “ucks”. But everything else is a duck. Actual ducks, however, are “DUCK!!!”

With that in mind, when a book comes along called, What’s Up, Duck? I have to show it to the junior member of the staff to see if it passes muster.

He said, “DUCK!”


Really though, Tad Hills’ follow-up to his bestselling Duck and Goose and Duck, Duck, Goose (neither of which I have read though) is brilliant. The previous two are storybooks, while this newest is a board book for very young children, which I think is a very good move for publishers. I know my daughter loved the David Shannon David board books, which paved the way for her to fall in love with the regular series. Hills’ art style is perfect for young readers. The vibrant colors and adorable birds should make this a favorite for anyone that comes across it.

What’s up Duck? is a book of opposites (with a near-far page that should make fellow Grover fans smile) and while I know there are plenty of those around, this one set itself apart by sheer adorableness. Duck reminds me a bit of the graphic novel series, Owly by Andy Runton. Hills, like Runton, has a strong ability to convey the emotion of his characters through a few simple lines. It is a skill not every illustrator has, but it seems so simple to Hills and Runton, which is important since there is no dialogue in Owly and no words to help with emotions in Duck.

I see from Hills’ page at Random that he has another board book coming out in August. I say give this newest one a try if you have appropriate aged kids in your life, and you may just find that you want to pre-order the next one.

Written/ Illustrated by Tad Hills; Board book, 22 pages; Price: $6.99; ISBN: 978-0-375-84738-7 (0-375-84738-3)

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