Moo Moo and Mr. Quackers are not Bert and Ernie.
Odd-couple stories have been popular for a long time and for many audiences: Oscar and Felix, Elephant and Piggie, R2-D2 and C-3P0. It’s possible that the stories are successful because the characters balance each other in an almost mystical way. The fussbudget becomes a little less serious, and the goofy bon vivant becomes less reckless. But there isn’t much balance in this picture book. When Moo Moo abruptly says, “We’re opening up our very own restaurant!” Mr. Quackers doesn’t really object even though Moo Moo has taken her friend’s life savings to pay for it. He hardly complains even when it becomes clear that Moo Moo can’t cook. The chef’s special is “all my favorite foods mixed together.” Mr. Quackers’ failure to react makes Moo Moo seem overbearing. Some readers will feel sorry for the duck, but others will think he’s kind of a doormat. He makes a few sardonic comments, but after crowds flee the restaurant, he just says, “At least we got to spend quality time together!” Miller’s line drawings are hilarious: Moo Moo juggling a boom box and a cake; Moo Moo flying through the air, held aloft by balloons. But the character is most endearing when she doesn’t speak.
One half of this odd couple becomes just a little too odd. (Picture book. 3-6)