MUDDLE & MO by Nikki Slade Robinson


Age Range: 3 - 5
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Muddle the duck is confused as to why friend Mo looks so strange—before finally realizing that Mo is a goat, not a duck.

The illustrations are really what make the book work, and Robinson's softly penciled and highly stylized goats and duck placed on textured blue backgrounds are adorable, with beautifully conveyed personalities. Muddle's expressions are manic and high-energy, while placid Mo's expressions are serene and calm, patiently awaiting the conclusion of Muddle's critique of what a strange duck Mo is. In fact, Mo doesn't even correct the duck—it's only when Muddle hears Mo bleat, and then hears Mo's fellow goats bleat back, that Muddle realizes that Mo is a goat. Muddle is a little cruel about assessing Mo’s inadequacy (Mo’s wings are in the wrong place, Mo’s tail looks weird, and Mo can’t even quack), in a similar vein as such tales as “The Ugly Duckling,” but there's no retributive ending here. Muddle anxiously asks, “Am I a goat?” “You are one hundred percent duck,” says Mo comfortably, and they cuddle up and have a laugh. There's plenty of room here for guardians to encourage kids to reframe weird into just different when observing others.

A simple story with sweet illustrations that make this an easy entry for very young readers. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-544-71612-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2016


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