From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1–One summer day, someone new waddled into Baron's life. Her name was Fluffy. And so begins this sweet story about the friendship between a German shepherd and a duckling. Baron comes to love her and is bereft when spring comes and she joins the wild ducks on the pond. After they leave and Fluffy's ducklings hatch, Baron is delighted to share with them all. Children will be captivated by the lush illustrations. The animals, realistically rendered in acrylic and ink, look ready to jump off the page, and the expressions on Baron's face, which range from curious to unsure to sad to delighted, are priceless. The book is beautifully designed, with the mix of full-bleed spreads, spot art, and full-page illustrations adding interest and moving the story along nicely. The lifelike farm and country backdrops and use of motion add to the visual appeal of the book. While there is nothing new here, and the text is unexceptional and occasionally saccharine, libraries looking for more books on friendship and sharing will find a ready audience for this attractive offering. Accessible to beginning readers, it will also be popular in storyhours.–Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
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The author of Handmade Alphabet (1991) and Swan Harbor (2003) turns her attention to personal childhood pets: Fluffy, a domesticated Pekin duck; and Baron, a long-haired German shepherd. Fluffy and Baron have an idyllic friendship. They share food and sleeping quarters, play together, and stay close during the cold winter months. When spring arrives, Fluffy is drawn to a pond where some wild ducks have come to rest. Baron is saddened by the loss of his companion, but he faithfully stays nearby while Fluffy builds a nest and hatches nine ducklings. Her motherly duties complete, Fluffy and her brood return to the barn, where Baron loyally waits. Rankin's realistic acrylics-and-ink illustrations, rich in earth tones, are particularly successful in depicting Baron's emotions and background details. An appended note includes information about duck behavior and two photos of Rankin and her pets. A natural choice for story hours focusing on friendship as well as for lap sharing. Kay Weisman
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