A farmyard duck who’s not built for speed finds a way to win the morning race down to the pond.
Being big of chest and stubby of leg, Oona stands no chance against her three slimmer, longer-limbed fellow ducks in the morning rush. “Last is a blot on my life,” she kvetches to her friend Roy the frog. “I don’t feel as big as a duck should feel.” But, as Roy reminds her, she is “good with gizmos,” and maybe, just maybe she could concoct something to give her that needed boost? Good with gizmos she proves to be, and though the wobbly cart and the workout machine she cobbles together from unlikely assortments of junk stored in the shed fail to fill the bill, a climactic inspiration involving laundry, a basket, and a launch from the barn’s roof really puts the wind beneath her wings (so to speak). Soon Bim, Bam, Bop, and even Roy are asking for rides. Martin tells the tale in rollicking cadences just right for reading aloud—”A gust of wind grabbed the sails and up she went. OOO-hoolie-hoo!”—and with fine comic flair Day sets the (more or less) naturalistically depicted tinkerer, every feather bristling with concentration, amid enticing jumbles of pulleys, ropes, and buckets of detritus.
Budding engineers of any species will agree that Oona has well earned the right to feel “just as big as a duck should feel.” (Picture book. 6-8)