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SWIM, DUCK, SWIM! by Susan Lurie Kirkus Star


by Susan Lurie ; photographed by Murray Head

Pub Date: May 20th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-250-04642-0
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

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)