Duck for a Day

( 1 )

Overview

What would you do to take care of the class duck for a day? A genuine, warm, and witty tale of determination and unlikely friendship.

Abby’s class has a duck named Max who waddles and quacks and makes your feet all warm when he sits on them. Even though Max is a duck with demands — from an ideal aquatic environment to fresh strawberries — Abby might get to take him home overnight, if she can make everything perfect. And Abby is sure she can do it. The problem is, weird Noah from...

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Overview

What would you do to take care of the class duck for a day? A genuine, warm, and witty tale of determination and unlikely friendship.

Abby’s class has a duck named Max who waddles and quacks and makes your feet all warm when he sits on them. Even though Max is a duck with demands — from an ideal aquatic environment to fresh strawberries — Abby might get to take him home overnight, if she can make everything perfect. And Abby is sure she can do it. The problem is, weird Noah from next door wants to take Max home, too. Abby can hear him digging on his side of the fence, but she knows he’ll never get Max. A duck needs calm, and what can Noah do about his chaotic backyard and noisy sisters? Splashed with charming illustrations and brimming with humor and heart, this story of bestlaid plans and unexpected cooperation is one that every kid will relate to.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Offering a droll, understated narrative and angular pencil illustrations, well-matched collaborators McKinlay and Rudge make the most of an auspicious premise. Abby and her classmates are delighted when Mrs. Melvino, their daffy new teacher, introduces Max the duck, making it clear that he is no ordinary class pet: "A duck is different. A duck has demands." Since Abby's parents have said no to a dog "every single birthday and every single Christmas," but have agreed to hosting a class pet overnight, she is determined to prove to her teacher that she can meet Max's requirements. So is her neighbor, likable and disheveled Noah. The two engage in a good-natured rivalry to create a proper "aquatic environment" for Max in their backyards. The independent-minded duck is a scene-stealer; in one episode, he uses his "clever beak" to make a mess of the craft cupboard, signaling to Mrs. Melvino that it's craft time ("Thank you, Max!...What an excellent idea"). Underlying the story's lightheartedness is a neatly delivered lesson about responsibility and cooperation. Ages 7–9. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Keeping to the theme of old concepts in new guises, the sweet story recounted in Meg McKinlay's DUCK FOR A DAY gives us the eternal tension between pet-crazy children and pet-averse parents... This gentle chapter book for children ages 7-11 turns on the question of whether Abby, with her fastidious parents, or Noah, with his messy ones, will have the joy of hosting Max, the class duck, for one long delicious overnight...Leila Rudge sprinkles the pages with amusing drawings of the wide-faced human characters and the wide-bottomed duck. When things go awry (as they must) and Max vanishes from Abby's house, it takes all of her and Noah's ingenuity and mimicry to get him back safely.
—Wall Street Journal

A fresh take on a perennially appealing topic—the class pet... Appropriately for its audience, this early chapter book features an open and accessible layout, with frequent pencil illustrations that enhance the humor, help propel the action, and even occasionally add to characterization. Max may be a temporary visitor, but new readers will want to take DUCK FOR A DAY home on a more permanent basis.
—The Horn Book

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Leis-Newman
Abby is astonished when her new teacher, Mrs. Melvino, shows up with a pet duck named Max who becomes the class pet. All of the children in the class are eager for Max to be able to come home with them for a visit. Abby, whose parents won't allow her to have a pet, becomes determined to meet Mrs. Melvino's stringent requirements—no other pets, a secure yard and an aquatic environment—and bring Max to her house. But her neighbor Noah is equally eager to befriend Max, and the pair try to build the best environment for the duck, from digging holes in their yard to installing a makeshift bath area. Abby triumphs, bringing Max home for an evening, but the next morning, the clever duck has managed to escape. Abby tracks Max to a local pond where he is happily swimming away, and she and Noah manage to corral him in by imitating Mrs. Melvino's movements. The adults appear shortly afterward, having been frantic about where the children and duck had gone. Mrs. Melvino allows Max to go home with Noah that evening, and Abby realizes that it would be okay to be Noah's friend. There is a nice lesson here for parents and children about the importance of sometimes letting go and allowing a duck, or child, to "spread his wings." Additionally, there's a gentle message about tolerance, such as Abby's mother letting her go to play in Noah's far messier and chaotic household. The black and white illustrations are reasonably simple, but add to the story. Elementary school children will enjoy how Abby and Noah save the day, and become charmed by Max. It is an excellent addition to a library or classroom. Reviewer: Elizabeth Leis-Newman
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Abby's parents have always said no to a family pet-but what about a class pet? A temporary pet. A compromise. It comes home for a day or two and then returns to school. Once Abby convinces her parents, she finds it even harder to convince her teacher, who insists that caring for a duck (yes, a class duck named Max) is no easy task. Ducks have certain demands and only children in the proper environment may take them home. Abby works tirelessly for hours to make things just right-and to be sure she beats her weird neighbor Noah to the punch. With much persistence and determination she is finally allowed to take Max home. But then, after all that, she loses him. During the search for him, an unexpected friendship forms between Abby and Noah. Winning pencil drawings enliven and add humor to this simple story. Unfortunately, the characters are not developed well enough to create a foreseeable following. An additional purchase suitable for those looking to expand their short-chapter-book collections for emerging readers.—Karinn Figdore, William Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763657840
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Meg McKinlay is a poet as well as a children's writer. She lives in Australia and divides her time between writing and teaching at the University of Western Australia.

Leila Rudge received a degree in illustration from Bath Spa University in her native England and now lives in Australia.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This one is a must read for the 4-10 crowd. So much fun! We lov

    This one is a must read for the 4-10 crowd.

    So much fun! We loved every second of this wonderful book!

    Synopsis: Mrs. Melvino has something completely new. Completely odd. Completely fascinating.

    A duck. A pet duck.

    Hmmm. Don’t classroom pets usually get to go home with the class? Mrs. Melvino says yes… If they are able to provide the proper environment. Who will be the first to get the duck?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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