Publishers Weekly - Publishers WeeklyDuck comes to bat a third time in Jez Alborough's Hit the Ball Duck. The feathered hero and his friends set out to play ball, but soon after Duck hits a high one up in a tree, the pals lose the bat and glove trying to retrieve it. A bit of ingenuity helps shake things up. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's LiteratureAffable Duck, hero of the humorous Duck's Key and Duck in the Truck, sets out with his friends Goat, Frog, and Sheep to play baseball in the park. Jolly rhymes describe Duck's SWOOSH and CRACK of the bat as he knocks the ball up into a tree. There it stays, in a tree too prickly to climb. Throwing the bat up after it, lands the bat in the tree as well, as does tossing up the glove. The friends then climb one on top of the other, which brings Duck almost within reach. Now is the chance for Frog, who was too small for the ball game, to make the difference, bringing everything down. And by catching the ball, he gets to call Duck "OUT!" There is an exuberance to the depiction of the animals that turns this simple tale into a comic opera. Visualized in horizontal and vertical panels that help animate each act, the short lines of verse are almost redundant captions. Exaggerated gestures and facial expressions tell the story of the anthropomorphic quartet with gusto, from the front endpapers' view of them in the stunning red truck, to the final endpaper scene of Frog having his turn at bat while Duck enjoys raiding the picnic basket. 2006, Kane/Miller Book Publishers, Ages 3 to 6.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus ReviewsImpulsive Duck's fifth U.S. outing takes him and friends into the fields for a bit of baseball. Goat's first pitch is almost the last, however, when a tree captures not only the ball that Duck wallops, but the bat and glove that Duck tosses up in an effort to dislodge it. It's little Frog, relegated to the sidelines, who suggests that Sheep climb up on Goat's shoulders, Duck atop Sheep and so on. Alborough's rhyming may be a bit forced-"Hold still," croaks Frog. "I may be small, / but I can make your team more tall"-but his rounded, soft-looking figures, all of whom stand on two legs, give the episode a child-friendly air, and the theme of cooperation is always worth a fresh presentation. (Picture book. 5-7)
- HarperCollins Children's Books
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