Peep and Ducky Rainy Day
“Continuity for parents, pleasure for kids, totally satisfies . . .”
There is something endearing about the words and phrases used here. They are not sophomoric, they are not cloying, they are spoken words on paper, meant to allow that special bond that happens when a parent reads to their child.
The continuing themes of the series are all here too, the friendship between Peep and Ducky—often at odds and always resolved—as well as the inter-cultural message that different—but the same—species can find commonality. Reassurance is present on every page that friendship can thrill, please, conflict and endure—always with the reminder that children can be so “Lucky, lucky, lucky.”
There is a quirk in the text of the book which many will fail to notice. Usually, the author’s cadence seems to follow strict rhythm rules, with rhyming to match word and pace. For example:
Peep falls down,
Right on Ducky.
They bonk heads.
Not so lucky.
And yet, the rhythm breaks when the author clearly wants to introduce and then resolve a conflict the two characters are having. And as a hint that not all is right (because young children will notice a subtle change in reader’s tone when also the rhyme doesn’t quite work).
I’m the captain,” says Peep
But Ducky says, “Me!”
And they shout and shout,
“No, me!” “No, me!”
Here we can see rhyming “me” is on the face of it clumsy . . . but it is there, awkward for the reader, to make the reader slow down or waver; very much like stage direction. What comes next is clearly meant to break the flow with no cadence and a throw-away rhyme to conclude:
“Me and you,” says Peep.
“Two captains,” says Ducky,
And that settles that.
Lucky, lucky, lucky.
One can be calmly content that the book, as well as the series, provides continuity for parents, pleasure for kids, totally satisfies the needs of the youngest reader or listener. That’s hard to do.
There is no gap, age or otherwise, in these stories by David Martin nor in the charming illustrations by David Walker. The pair use their talents in complimentary ways. For example, discussing the outcome of that pillow-fight gone too far, the author uses the word “bonk heads” not bang.
The accompanying illustration evokes sympathy and hurt, buy never anything to worry about. Again, that fine a balance is hard to achieve. Similarly, is there any sorrow at the end of the tale when Peep has to leave? Not on the page in words or image. Rather there is a yearning, a longing to see one another again, a realistic lesson without trauma. Nice job by the two collaborators.