When a teacher asks an imaginative girl to write a story, she draws a duck wearing blue socks and red shoes. "Ducks don't wear shoes," says her teacher reprovingly. "Go and start again!" But once invented, the duck refuses to disappear. "I told my duck that he couldn't possibly stay there because I was starting my story again. `But there is nowhere else to eat my lunch!' he told me, and carried on anyway." Finally, on the girl's fourth try, the teacher notices neither the persistent duck nor the one-winged flying girl who also insists on remaining in the picture. "Don't tell my teacher!" the girl begs the reader. While presiding adults may not fancy the loutish teacher here, the book has an irresistible brio. British author/artist Linch's (This and That) bright cartoons, the duck's winsome expressions, the unexpected twists and turns, and the good-natured fun inherent in the several plots will recommend this book to readers. Ages 3-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-A youngster's creative urges are stifled by an overbearing teacher in this whimsical tale. Difficulties arise when the primary-grade student is given an assignment to write a story. She starts off by drawing a picture of a duck wearing shoes. Her inflexible instructor rejects her effort because "Ducks don't wear shoes." The tearful little girl tries again, but her graphic creation has developed a mind of its own and the duck is reluctant to depart the scene. Her second and third stories, one about a tree in the middle of the road and another about a little girl with wings, meet with similar negative responses. Finally, her fourth more pedestrian attempt, about a visit to the zoo, wins her teacher's approval. The unimaginative woman fails to notice, however, that the fancifully shod duck and winged girl have invaded the zoo environs. This sweet subversion of classroom doctrine is depicted in a na ve cartoon style. The woman's overwhelming authoritarianism is expressed by a profile view of the imposing pedagogue. Fortunately, her sternness and her pupil's grief are mitigated by the childlike drawings and warm, playful colors. Children will enjoy this ultimately triumphant and happily resolved school saga.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
A young girl's struggle with the creative process is the focus of this zany tale. A class assignment to create a work of fiction is the impetus for the budding writer's endeavors. Her initial efforts produce a tale about a duck with shoes. Unfortunately, the child's teacher steadfastly rejects any stories involving literary flights of fancy and the girl resignedly consigns the elegantly shod duck to the scrap-paper heap. However, the spunky fowl takes matters into his own wings and resolutely continues on with his journey. Soon the young artist has a veritable character mutiny on her hands as a one-winged girl joins the duck and refuses to be written out of the story. Linch's tale is wryly written with hilarious scenes depicting the girl earnestly explaining to her free-spirited creations that she must write a more practical story. One discordant note in the work is the oppressiveness of the teacher, who relentlessly attempts to squash the girl's creative spirit and functions more as a one-dimensional caricature of an unimaginative adult. However, the child ingeniously creates an "acceptable" tale about a trip to the zoo while slyly incorporating her unique characters into the background pictures. Full-page illustrations, riotously colored, artfully convey the girl's—and her characters'—uncompromising individuality. A humorous and inspiring exploration of the art of writing that encourages readers to give their imaginations free reign. (Picture book. 3-7)