Waddles the raccoon loves to eat. In fact, he eats so much that his usual walk has turned into a waddle. He also loves to spend time with his best friend, Emily the duck, and together they like to go swimming for fish. One day Emily asks Waddles if he could do her a big favor and sit on her unhatched eggs while she takes a swim. The very cuddly Waddles is happy to oblige, but he gets a big surprise when the ducklings begin to hatch! Waddles soon finds himself very attached to the family of ducklings and worries ...
Waddles the raccoon loves to eat. In fact, he eats so much that his usual walk has turned into a waddle. He also loves to spend time with his best friend, Emily the duck, and together they like to go swimming for fish. One day Emily asks Waddles if he could do her a big favor and sit on her unhatched eggs while she takes a swim. The very cuddly Waddles is happy to oblige, but he gets a big surprise when the ducklings begin to hatch! Waddles soon finds himself very attached to the family of ducklings and worries about what will happen when they have to fly south for the winter. Waddles introduces a lovable new character in a story with a timely message about what truly matters in life, for friendship and love are the only things that can really make someone “full.”
McPhail's characteristically gentle earth-toned ink and watercolor pictures steer this quaint story about "a very round raccoon," who waddles like a duck, and his best friend, who is a duck. Images of Waddles and Emily in their pond-side environs convey their mutual affection. When Emily lays a nestful of eggs, Waddles brings her food and later protects the eggs while Emily takes a swimming break. After the eggs hatch with Waddles guarding the nest, the ducklings waddle behind him to the pond to join their mother. Swimming, snacking, and cuddling with the ducklings, "Waddles had never been so happy." But when autumn arrives, Emily explains that she and her ducklings are flying south for the winter (given that Emily and Waddles aren't newly acquainted friends, it's not entirely clear why this news comes as a surprise). Still, readers will share in his palpable joy when, as expected, the family returns in spring. Despite some amusing trash- diving for food and a (too tame) encounter with a marauding fox, the story's mild portrayal of friendship isn't rewarding enough to offset the overt sweetness. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
- Meredith Kiger
Charming, expressive illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this heartwarming tale of a raccoon named Waddles and his friendship with Emily, the duck. Both live near the city park and run into each other frequently on their daily search for food. One day, Waddles invites Emily for a swim in the pond but Emily says that she must sit on her newly laid eggs. Waddles, concerned that Emily will not be able to eat properly, suggests he sit on the eggs while Emily searches for food. He does, fending off a wily fox interested in the eggs. One day while egg sitting, the eggs begin to hatch. Waddles is thrilled and becomes a surrogate mother of sorts as he and Emily share caring for the ducklings. When fall comes round, Emily announces that she and her brood must fly elsewhere to survive the winter. Waddles is lonely without his special friends but is pleasantly surprised when spring arrives. The normally feisty raccoon is given a gentle demeanor in this story of caring and friendship that pairs adorable illustrations with a memorable story. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—A chubby and ever-hungry raccoon is close friends with Emily the duck. They sometimes swim together, and Emily keeps Waddles company as he checks the trash cans for cake or half-eaten sandwiches. Soon, however, she has some eggs to hatch, and must stay at her nest. Waddles offers to keep the eggs warm so that Emily can go for a quick swim. Danger lurks, however, in the form of a fox who tries to steal the eggs, but Waddles scares him off. Soon the chicks hatch, and he has five new friends to enjoy through the summer and fall. But, winter is around the corner, and Emily announces that it is time for them to fly south. It's a long, lonely winter without his friends, but with the dawn of spring, Emily and her babies are back, and life for the raccoon is good again. McPhail uses his familiar medium of ink and pen with watercolor to create this story of friendship, reunion, and the cycles of life. A sweet, straightforward addition to picture-book collections.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
David McPhail began drawing at a very young age. Today he is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of more than one hundred books for children, including Budgie & Boo, Water Boy, and When Sheep Sleep, which Booklist called a "charming bedtime story." He lives in Rye, New Hampshire.