Most ducks fly south for the winter-but not free-thinking Max. When snow falls, he takes refuge in a home already packed with pets. Rib-tickling cartoons play up the duck's new lifestyle and the friction it causes (when he hogs the remote control and whips up unpopular dishes like "Max's Seaweed Chowder"). Then spring arrives and it's time for Max to fly the coop. Will life at home ever be the same? (ages 4 to 7)
The February 2007 issue of Child magazine
Children's Literature - Keri Collins
He neglected to migrate and winter has set in. What is a mallard to do? Max, the lucky duck, knocks on the door of a cozy house and proceeds to spend the cold, dark months learning the finer lessons of life: how to use the remote control, the joys of cooking, and the beauty of a bubble bath. Though Max's heart may be in the right place, he is oblivious to the needs of the other animal members of the householddogs, cats, rabbits, and birdsand they are delighted to see him rejoin his flock in the spring. Only when he is gone do the pets realize how quiet life is without Max's quackiness. As autumn approaches, they hear a knock on the door. Could it be Max? Jackie Urbanovic's lighthearted illustrations bring to life an unusual family and its endearing new addition, while creating an important subtext through the animals' reactions and conversations. While Max is never required to consider the feelings of others, readers will be able to draw their own conclusions about ways to handle larger-than-life characters. This humorous read-aloud would work well with classroom discussions about migration, the needs of warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals, and seasons.
School Library Journal
When his flock migrates south for the winter, Max opts to stay behind—and quickly regrets it. Luckily, Irene and her pets live nearby in a cozy house, so the quirky duck makes himself right at home for the season, and proves to be a bit of a pest. Just when everyone has had their fill of Max's favorite TV shows, blanket hogging, and experimental cuisine, spring arrives, and he leaves to reunite with his flock—and, naturally, the entire household feels his absence. Urbanovic's animals, with their expressive, engaging facial features, take center stage in the open, cheery illustrations. They're detailed without being busy, and nuanced without being at all fussy. Great fun for storyhours.
Catherine ThreadgillCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
In this comfortably predictable variation on the "obnoxious guest" theme, a household consisting of one woman, Irene, and a whole lot of dogs, cats and other pets welcomes-at first-a shivering duck named Max who decided to stay behind when the rest of his flock migrated for the winter. Soon commandeering both the TV remote and the kitchen, Max has definitely outstayed his welcome by spring-but the general relief at his parting turns to boredom, and then to brief delight followed by dismay when he shows up at the doorstep again that autumn with dozens of fellow ducks. In fluidly drawn cartoon scenes, Urbanovic strews a spacious domestic setting with a multi-species array of individualized residents living in more or less peaceful coexistence. In contrast to their panic, Irene responds calmly to the climactic incursion, offering Max a hug and a warm greeting. There's more comedy, not to mention a sense of closure, in Sandy Asher's similar Too Many Frogs!, illus by Keith Graves (2005), but the big-hearted open-door policy here will appeal to a wide range of readers. (Picture book. 6-8)