Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Rubber-Legged Ducky by John G. Keller, illustrated by Henry Cole

Yet another story where good intentions outweigh the plot. The illustrations are colorful and humorous, and the different ducklings are especially well-drawn, with slight differences to tell them apart and give them personality. It would have been a great wordless book. Unfortunately, it's not.

Summary: When a mother duck hatches her ducklings after eating a rubber band, one duckling has a rubber-band-like leg. She tells him he is her "special ducky" and can do "special, wonderful things". The other little ducklings are perfectly okay with this and enjoy all the special things Five can do. But the other barnyard animals make fun of Five. Until a fox comes and Five saves the day. Sort of.

Actually, all he does is wack the fox in the nose, it's the farmer who saves the day. And the fox could just as easily have eaten the entire duckling - after all, Five's mother ate a rubber band, why should foxes be pickier? And it's unrealistic that the animals all of a sudden realize how special he is! And they all love him! And why do we care what the other animals think anyways!

In other words, the moral of the story is, if you're different you won't be happy until everyone likes you, and everyone will like you when you do something special.

Too bad it wasn't wordless.

Verdict: This was a briefly talked about title that, thankfully, quickly fell out of vogue. Give it a miss.

ISBN: 0152052895; Published April 2008 by Harcourt; Borrowed from the library

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