Scooped from his rubber wading pool by a near-sighted pelican, then dropped when he begins to cry, Arnold lands in a nest of freshly hatched ducklings. His method of arrival as startling as his situation, Arnold becomes the ugly duckling in mother Leda's flock, learning the duckwalk at the end of the line of ducklings (""Quackstep one, and step quack two, and step one quack. . ."") and dressed up to match his brothers in their extra feathers. ""The surprising thing was how easily Arnold took to flying,"" and he dives for ducks like an expert. Arnold grows (requiring refeathering), migrates with the family (in Florida, they paddle around with their flamingo relatives), but gets caught one spring in a kite string that crashes. And so he is round by a St. Bernard and returned to his original parents, Arnold's retraining as a human--learning to eat with his hands, not his bill, learning to speak English ""and a few words of Spanish and Yiddish""--is almost as funny as his education as a duck. In the droll, energetic pictures, he's lovable either way. A puff of fresh air.