Review of Keep Up, Duck!

Keep Up, Duck! Keep Up, Duck!
by Rachel Bates; illus. by Ivan Bates
Preschool    Candlewick    32 pp.
4/24    9781536209389    $17.99

Mamma Duck is leading her ducklings to the lily pond, and little Puck, with his downy feathers and tiny feet, always seems to fall behind. When Mamma encourages him forward (“Keep up, Duck!”), Puck first hops on a paddle boat to catch up, then a skateboard, bicycle, and others. The text has a gentle rhythm and uses a lot of onomatopoeia (“Whizz! and Whirr! went all the wheels. Whizz! Whizz! Whirr! Whoooo!”), perfect for reading aloud. The watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations make beautiful use of delicate lines, subtle textures, and pastel colors, particularly the gradations of blue and green that abound in the water and the landscape surrounding it. The spreads are at once peaceful and full of motion, particularly with Puck, who is a pop of sunny yellow that jumps off each page, leaving confused creatures and mild chaos in his wake. In the end, Puck winds up ahead of his family and gets to shout, “Keep up, Mamma!” On a wordless page, Puck quivers with joy in his accomplishment, and when the family is reunited, Mamma has the good grace not to look irritated. Humorous and charming.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Adrienne L. Pettinelli

Adrienne L. Pettinelli is the director of the Henrietta (NY) Public Library. She has served on several book award committees, including the 2015 Caldecott Committee, and is the author of Helping Homeschoolers in the Library (2008).

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