Bedard's picture book features the same whimsical ducks that appear in his posters. Here, he presents a world inhabited only by white, yellow-billed ducks and wide-eyed alligators. Birds are incubated and hatched in the Colossal Duck Factory, and their eventual destination is the alligators' stomachs. One day, an egg unexpectedly falls off the conveyor belt, and the rudely hatched full-sized duck is spirited out of the factory by a hungry worker. Of course, the reptile has only stuffed poultry on his mind, but the merry antics of the little fellow turn his heart toward friendship. Eventually, the fowl learns that all of the others of his kind spend their days in Ducktown where they "eat and eat until they grow so fat they can't fly away." He mobilizes the flock with the truth (in the form of a menu from The Decoy Cafe) and everyone flies south to safety. (The birds use their wings while the alligator boards a plane.) Unfortunately, skillfully rendered, comically appealing artwork just isn't enough to carry an artificially contrived story line that contains occasional lapses of logic. The characters are charming but unconvincing. Perhaps there's hidden meaning here that adult fans of Bedard will recognize, but it's also very likely that the picture-book audience won't be interested.
Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools
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