This favorite song, written in the 1950s, has been a kid-pleaser for generations, thanks to such song stylists as Danny Kaye, Burl Ives, and more recently, Raffi. It comes as no surprise, then, to find that the real news is the gorgeous new illustrations offered in an oversized format by the creator of other brightly appealing books such as What's That Sound, Woolly Bear?
(1996). Luscious collages in shimmery blues and greens, the lovely pink of the lily pad and the brilliant red of the snake fill the pages. Watercolor washes applied to textured or colored paper create a three-dimensional effect that has one almost reaching out to stroke the duck's feathers. Set out as a playlet, the actors are introduced on the title page, and then the curtain opens. Readers follow the action and can sing along with the guitar-strumming river-rat narrator. They can quack along with the little white duck, glug with the little green frog (not so little here), buzz with the little black bug or hiss with the little red snake, the villain of the piece. This is a truly spectacular undertaking that deserves a wide audience. Bravo. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >