Quirky new-baby storytime fun to quack readers up.
Protagonist Stella Wells, “fledgling scientist,” has a new baby brother. She also has the distinctly peculiar notion that he may be a duckling. In a matter-of-fact narration, Stella notes that her suspicions began when her mother was pregnant and her father joked “You’re waddling. We must be having a duck.” When the baby comes home, illustrations clearly depict him as a human infant (white-appearing like Stella and her parents), but inquisitive, observant Stella takes notes that support her hypothesis about his potential duck nature: He is “scrawny” and “yellow” (wrapped in a yellow receiving blanket), and he has a “flat, broad nose” (which Wiseman represents as a large pacifier). Then Mom announces the baby’s name: Drake. This is just one instance where Miller’s wordplay ratchets up the humor of this offbeak, er, offbeat new-baby book. Wiseman’s accompanying cartoon art is reminiscent of Zachariah OHora’s style, and it capitalizes on the text’s silly premise as Stella investigates her brother’s status with the help of her friend Carla Martinez (who, like many others at Stella’s school, is depicted as a kid of color).
Just ducky. (Picture book. 4-7)