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From the Hello Genius series

by Michael Dahl ; illustrated by Oriol Vidal

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4795-5793-6
Publisher: Picture Window Books

It’s time for little Duck to give up his beloved pacifier.

Like many tots, “Duck likes his pacifier,” and the first double-page spread shows him sucking on it happily. Mama Duck, though, believes he’s outgrown it: “Only in bed, sleepyhead,” she admonishes, plucking the pacifier from Duck’s beak as he sits down to a meal. On subsequent pages, she repeats this phrase and pulls away the pacifier as surprised, sad-looking Duck sits in his car seat and reads a book. Adult readers will wonder here—why wouldn’t Mama Duck just put away the pacifier instead of repeatedly snatching it from her wee one throughout the day? Then, surprise, Mama Duck announces that Duck doesn’t need his pacifier at all: “Not even in bed, sleepyhead.” Here, a pleased-looking Mama Duck is pictured with the pacifier hanging from a cord around her neck, out of little Duck’s reach. The following double-page spread features Duck wailing in his crib. Turn the page, and readers see that “soon enough, Duck stops crying…and falls asleep” with no pacifier and no comfort from Mama. When morning comes, he proudly announces: “I’m a BIG DUCK now!”

Despite the happy ending, a story meant to serve as reassurance to little ones giving up their own pacifiers comes off as harsh and decidedly unpleasant.

(Board book. 1-3)