From the Publisher
"As usual, droll, understated watercolors illustrate the pair's tour of popular attractions. . . . Who knows where on earth [duck] and Dodsworth will end up next, but let's hope we find out soon."
"The poetics of restraint could not be better displayed."
"From the Dodsworth series, another fine, funny book for beginning readers or for reading to younger children."
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Dodsworth travels all over with his duck. This time they are taking in the sights and foods in Japan. Duck is trying to be on his best behavior. He learns to bow when he's addressing someone. He likes that no one else wears shoes indoors. He's never seen the attraction of wearing shoes to begin with. He loves eating sushi, but he especially loves playing with a Japanese toy called a kendama they see little girl playing with. When the girl leaves the toy in the park, the duck asks if he may play with it until they find the little girl. The wooden toy is made up of a stick with a cross piece at one end and a small ball tethered to it by a string. The object is to flip the ball onto the stick or into the cup at the end of the cross piece. Dodsworth has no luck mastering the game, but the duck gets the ball on the stick nine times in a row. Except for a mishap with a rickshaw, the duck is indeed on his best behavior and Dodsworth is pleased. Well...until the duck falls off a bridge while looking at koi fish swimming in the Imperial Palace's pond. Silly as it might seem, the duck can't swim. Dodsworth rescues him, but warns that there will be no wagashi if the duck misbehaves again. Since the duck is extremely fond of dessert, he tries his best to earn his wagashi. The duck earns his sweet buns and his very own kendama after he returns the toy to the girl. The book does give a young reader some information about Japan and tells a silly talewho ever heard of a duck that can't fly or swim? Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Eager to experience local customs and cuisine on their trip to Tokyo, jet-setter Dodsworth and his accident-prone duck visit Yoyogi Park, where they find a girl's lost toy, a kendama. Dodsworth promises the duck that if he can stay out of trouble while they take a bus tour, visit a museum, and attend a festival, he'll treat him to some wagashi, dessert. Predictably, the duck doesn't quite succeed, though he does inadvertently impress the locals and return the lost toy. When finally enjoying his long-awaited treat, he ends up making another mess, but his ever-patient companion just laughs. The Japanese words and complex vocabulary will make this chapter book a challenge for young readers, though Egan's pleasant, colorful panels help to decode their meaning. For an adventure in a foreign country, the plot lags slightly. Purchase only where other Dodsworth books are popular or to supplement curriculum on Japanese culture.—Jenna Boles, Washington-Centerville Public Library, OH
Timing is everything. Imagine this classic slapstick scene: Two repairmen have to carry a pane of glass across a busy street. Car after car whizzes past and, somehow, swerves around them. The whole scene is about waiting for the glass to break. Egan's latest Dodsworth book is a lot like that. "We should be on our best behavior here," Dodsworth tells his duck. He warns the duck not to play ball around priceless vases. He warns the duck not to play with a bottle of ink. "The duck," the text notes, had always wanted to play with ink." The duck does not crash into the pottery. The duck doesn't spill any ink, and a server in a restaurant tells Dodsworth, "Arigato. Your duck is very well behaved." As in classic slapstick, though, something has to give. At the climax of the story, the duck swings on a rope, springs off an awning and knocks over a tub of goldfish. It's worth the wait. When the duck bounces across a row of drums, precisely in time to the music, it's a very satisfying moment. But the scene really works because of what happens next: The duck walks quietly across the courtyard and hands a toy to a little girl. She had thought it was lost forever. That, too, is worth the wait. The poetics of restraint could not be better displayed. (Early reader. 6-9)