In this reimagining of childhood bliss, little Duckie and his mother trundle through a normal day, but they see the same day in very different ways.
This breezy, two-minute read by debut writer/illustrator Skandle pits simple prose against sly drawings. Duckie, the narrator, is a bright yellow duckling, and his mother is a wolf. Mommy cleans; Duckie messes. Duckie falls off the jungle gym; Mommy barely catches him. Mommy tries to tame boiling soup; Duckie hugs her. Each of Duckie’s cheery pronouncements—“I like to start the day by singing” or “Mommy has fun at bath time too”—has a simple, belying illustration that shows the oblivious toddler matched with his alternately harried and overworked or reluctant mother. The sentences are short and declarative, and the print is bold—perfect for a budding reader. But the message is subversive enough to be as much fun for parents as for their kids. Skandle jostles the idea of pleasant parenthood, which is welcome, but Duckie’s mother, droop-lidded and constantly sipping coffee, hunched over at the end of a long day, is a jarringly real depiction of parenthood as a slogging duty. Even the colors—Duckie’s bright yellow to Mommy’s faded gray—mark the contrast. Parents will relate, smile even. But for every smile, there’s a little cringe, as parents see themselves in the image of Mommy bracing Duckie at arm’s length during an erupting bath or with her back to the baby, focused almost desperately on the coffee maker. But when the moon is up and the baby sleeps, Duckie’s mommy, like parents everywhere, is happiest. And tired too.
A worthy inside joke for parents beset with toddlers.