“Ducks, the scientific method, and babyhood combine to create a punny, silly, and entertaining tale.”
The self-proclaimed bird scientist Stella Wells has a sneaking suspicion that her soon-to-be baby brother is a duck. Research is necessary to prove any hypothesis, so Stella gets to work observing and studying her new brother, Drake (which is another term for a male duck—coincidence?). After seeing his yellow-toned skin (a clever allusion to jaundice) and hearing his squawking, Stella turns to her friend Carla, a fellow kid scientist, who prompts for further research and the an expert’s opinion. Principal Kowalski confirms their research saying, “If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” With that confirmation, Stella heads home and notices her brother looks pretty normal, after all (especially without his duck-themed blanket wrapped around him). Wiseman’s illustrations are bright, bold, and decorated with additional funny details, like dad’s farmer’s tan on the last page, the parenting books on top of the hospital bag, and the many ducks adorning the pages. Miller cleverly uses puns and references within the text to add personality and silliness to the story while promoting girls in science with characters Stella and Carla. While the story lacks notable moments, this punny, cute take on the scientific method (while playing on different aspects of babyhood) is both enjoyable and entertaining.
The “Laugh Out Loud” badge is awarded to books that are exceptionally humorous.
What Questions Should I Ask My Child
Stella gathers facts to test her hypothesis: that her baby brother is a duck. How did Stella find the answer to her hypothesis? What questions you might have that you could scientifically research.
When Stella thinks her little brother is a duck, she looks on the bright side–they'll never lose at a game of Duck, Duck, Goose, for example. What are the benefits of having a younger sibling? Can you look on the bright side of your day, today?
Pat Zietlow Miller is a bestselling children’s book author. She is the author of Sophie’s Squash, which was starred by Kirkus, Booklist, SLJ, and PW, as well as awarded the 2014 Crystal Kite Award, the 2014 Golden Kite Award, a 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Honor, and the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor. Her second book, Wherever You Go, received two starred reviews and has sold in multiple translations. She is also the author of Sharing the Bread, Sophie’s Squash Goes to School, and The Quickest Kid in Clarksville.
Daniel Wiseman likes to draw. A lot. He likes it so much, he’s made a career out of it. Usually he draws animals wearing clothes, or kids enjoying a good dance party. However, when prodded, he’s been known to draw pretty much anything else. Daniel currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with his beautiful wife and his equally beautiful son. When he isn’t drawing, he can usually be found doing one of these great things: perfecting his biscuit recipe, hiking up a mountain in some faraway location, singing loudly in his car, riding his bike on the mean streets of STL, or napping.
For my two favorite little ducklings,
Henry & Hugo
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April 21, 2020
Handlettering by Daniel Wiseman. Typeset in Fela.
The illustrations in this book were rendered digitally.