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Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Paddling of Ducks, written by Marjorie Blain Parker and illustrated by Joseph Kelly. Kids Can, 2010. $18.95 ages 4 and up

"A band of Gorillas.
A bloat of hippos.
A colony of iguanas."

Alphabet books and their design have always been appealing to me. I am intrigued by the many ways that imaginative authors and illustrators decide to portray the twenty-six letters that have all the power of our language. This book keeps me believing! It is a simple book, it seems; but it has a bit of a twist and is definitely original in style and for its artwork. Many of the words for animal groups are new to me, and some were quite surprising. The text is pretty straightforward...four words to provide the group and the animal. That's it! Or, is it?

No, it is not! The illustrations add a spirited dimension that glows with light. As a reader, you are drawn right into the scene being depicted. There is so much to see and to discover as you pore over the detailed, colorful
oil paintings. The animals are hilarious! The ducks are everywhere...reading over the shoulder of the aardvark at his laptop on the army of Ants page as he enjoys coffee and a bagel, being coddled by a baby bear on the sloth of Bears page, sipping tropical tasty treats with the bask of Crocodiles. You get a real sense for the personality of each of the groups and the ducks provide uncontrolled frivolity at every turn.

It needs to be read up close and personal to catch all the humor and the interplay of words and art; there are jokes and puns galore. Plus, it's educational and wonderful fun for all who will share it!

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