Duck is his friends’ secret valentine in this latest in the Duck and Hippo series.
When Duck realizes that she doesn’t have a valentine on Valentine’s Day, she’s inspired. Sharp-eyed readers will catch glimpses of Duck as she stealthily leaves party invitations at Hippo’s, Turtle’s, Pig’s, and Elephant’s places. Each suspects their own special friend; Hippo and Duck, Turtle and Pig seem to be in relationships, though it’s not spelled out in the text. Readers are then privy to the various preparations each friend makes to attend, and there’s also some embedded time-telling practice. Excited Hippo brushes his teeth and dons his bow tie at 1:00. Turtle starts walking to the park at 2:00. Pig is bathing at 3:00. An hour later, everyone is surprised to arrive at the same time, but where is Duck? She makes her grand entrance as the secret valentine, presents Hippo with a red rose, and declares, “The best valentines are friends!” The group concurs as they all share the special treats they have brought. London’s latest is lackluster. There’s little in the way of character development, so those who don’t know the series already are not going to know the friends any better—or care to—after finishing this despite Joyner’s bright and cheery illustrations.
For fans only. (Picture book. 3-7)