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WEBSTER J. DUCK by Martin Waddell


by Martin Waddell & illustrated by David Parkins

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7636-1506-4
Publisher: Candlewick

Webster J. Duck emerges from his egg a beguiling, web-footed, and fuzzyheaded yellow duckling who has not yet seen his mother. Mother Duck seems to be nowhere in sight. When Webster sets off to find her, he meets in turn a dog, a sheep, and a cow, or, as he thinks of them, a Duck with a Waggly Tail, a Big Woolly Duck, and a Bigger Big Duck. They offer barks and baas and moos to his questioning “quack-quack?,” but the newly hatched Webster, unlike his literary antecedents, has his wits about him. He knows that these other creatures could not be his mother: “My mother would go ‘quack-quack’ like me!” But where is she? Poor Webster is soon in tears, and though the larger animals try to help by calling for the mother duck in their own languages, Webster is the very picture of a duckling in despair. Mother Duck appears at last, and Webster swims off with her. Gentle watercolor and pencil paintings suffuse the meadow and Webster’s reedy birthplace on the bank of the lake with the warmth of a summer day. The illustrations go right to the edge of the page, and the text, in a clear, agreeable, good-sized font, is beautifully laid out, a complement to the pictures—giving a classic, harmonious look to the overall result. Pair this with Waddell’s equally reassuring Owl Babies (1996) for comfort night and day. Simple, sweetly humorous, and just ducky. (Picture book. 2-5)