"I'm a little white duck
sitting in the water,
a little white duck
doing what he oughter."
Children have sung this silly song written by Walt Whippo and Bernard Zaritzky for half a century. Performers from Burl Ives to Danny Kaye to Raffi have recorded it over the years. And now, for the first time, the classic sing-along song about the duck that "quack, quack, quacks," the frog that "glug, glug, glugs," and the bug that "bzz, buzz, bzz's" has made its way into picture-book format. Joan Paley's gorgeous collages are full of vivacious color and three-dimensional pizzazz. Bold, brilliant greens and blues dominate, drawing the reader deeper and deeper into the happy little world of these water critters--happy, that is, until the little red snake comes along and scares off the duck and frog and eats the bug! But he's still glad to be "a little red snake playing in the water," so all's well that ends well. To soften the blow of the untimely demise of the little black bug, all four of the characters (duck, frog, bug, snake), plus the guitar-strumming mouse narrator, take a bow on the last page, so sensitive young readers will know it's all just play-acting. Musical notation is included. (Ages 2 to 7) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Whether readers were first introduced to this classic 1950 kids' song by Danny Kaye, Burl Ives or Raffi, Paley's (What's That Sound, Woolly Bear?) full-bleed, double-spread collages will bring it vividly to life all over again (those who are making a first acquaintance will find the music included). Paley stages the song as a play. As a guitar-playing mouse narrates, a duck, a frog and a black bug are successively introduced as happily "doing what [they] oughter... in the water." Then along comes a little red snake who clears the room, so to speak, by scaring the duck and frog and eating the bug, leaving the song to conclude, "Boo! Hoo! Hoo!" But the book itself ends on an up beat, with the bug, along with the rest of the cast, taking a bow as the animal audience clamors, "Bravo." Working with cut paper, crayon, pastel and washes of watercolor, Paley creates spread after spread of bold, dramatically cropped tableaux; her strong, graphic lines and compositions are handsomely tempered by the rich, aquatic-inspired palette. Her frog is an especially appealing creation, gleefully stretching his spotted emerald body across the length of the page, and registering expressions that range from languor to alarm. Luminous and full of movement, this art will demand repeated viewings. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
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