Standing in for any reluctant preschooler faced with a new experience, a duckling goes through stages of irritation at parental urging and then nervousness before finally taking a first plunge.
Duckling has no trouble with self-expression: “I told you once. I told you twice. / I don’t like to get wet.” His feelings are reflected with astonishing veracity in Head’s (Frisky Brisky Hippety Hop, 2012) sunlit, close-up color photos. Taken in New York City’s Central Park, the full-bleed pond-side scenes mostly feature a pair of adult mallards attending to a fuzzy hatchling who really looks angry, stubborn, pensive, apprehensive and, at last, gleeful thanks to an artful eye and clever angles of view. Lurie’s rhymed monologue reads with a natural rather than singsong cadence and is set out on each spread in a few lines or partial lines that match the accompanying picture wonderfully well. “I’m in the pond! Look at me! / Hooray! I’m not afraid!”
A childhood triumph portrayed just right. Both the archetypal challenge and the creative collaboration go swimmingly. (Picture book. 3-5)