A cute-as-a-button moppet adopts, raises, and loves a lost little duckling.
Keane’s digital illustrations have the loose, line-and-wash, mid-20th-century look of Marc Simont or Hilary Knight, with the exception of their central character, a thoroughly modern brown-skinned girl with two black pom-pom pigtails. When the little, yellow duckling follows a butterfly out of the park, the protagonist finds it and brings it to her well-appointed row house (where she apparently lives alone, as there’s no sign of an adult anywhere). She nurtures it through night feedings, plays with it inside, and, recognizing it’s time to say goodbye, takes it back to the park, where it swims away. It’s a 32-page expansion of the old poster platitude, “If you love something, let it go,” and (spoiler alert) the duckling does indeed come back the following spring, now grown and with a brood of its own. Unfortunately, the text is simply a series of soppy, frequently nonsensical “Love is” statements entirely in line with the platitude. “Love is holding something fragile, tiny wings and downy head. / Love is noisy midnight feedings, shoe box right beside the bed.” Having evidently decided to sacrifice sense to scansion and rhyme, Adams mystifyingly and periodically abandons that scansion, but never does she let go of the treacly sentiment. The charming illustrations mark Keane as one to watch, with her admirable command of line, composition, and narrative possibility.
A pretty, hardcover greeting card. (Picture book. 3-5)