Creating a blended family demands a new choice in housing in Gavin’s picture-book debut.
The matter-of-fact text begins, “One spring, Bear came to visit and never left,” as it introduces the title character’s integration into a family of ducks. While they get along fabulously, the ducks’ small, lakeside house isn’t spacious enough for Bear, so they head out in search of a home that will better accommodate everyone. Unfortunately, nothing is quite right, and they return to the small house by the lake. An interior spread that doubles as cover art shows the poor outcome of this decision, with Bear crowding the ducks on their sofa, his weight causing it to tip precariously to one end. Feeling like a nuisance, Bear departs and finds a cave dwelling. Although this solves the problem of living space, the separation smarts. In a clear case of absence making the heart grow ever fonder, not to mention more resourceful, Bear builds the ducks a small home that can sit right at the entrance to his cave. Problem solved! Throughout, Gavin’s soft watercolors capture the shifting moods of the story while taking full advantage of the contrast in size between Bear and the ducks to maximize humor. Combined with her understated text, they mark her a new artist to watch.
Just ducky. (Picture book. 3-6)