Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WADDLES by David McPhail

McPhail, David. Waddles. New York: Abrams, 2011. ISBN: 9780810984158, $15.95.

"Waddles waddled like a duck.
              But he was not a duck.
                          Waddles was a raccoon. A very round raccoon. And he was always hungry."

So begins the story of Waddles and a very special year with some very special friends. Open the book, turn to the title page, and I guarantee you will fall in love with Waddles—carrying a half-eaten piece of pizza and all. This is certainly not a book about healthful eating habits (though Waddles should be praised for putting food back in the trashcan when he's done with it) but it is a book about friendship and loyalty.

While Waddles is not a duck, his best friend, Emily, is a duck. Emily and Waddles spend  a lovely Spring together. Emily does her best to encourage a better diet, but Waddles "prefer[s] half-eaten sandwiches or cake." Their days together change when Waddles finds Emily sitting on her nest. She explains that she needs to keep her eggs safe and she won't be able to join Waddles on his adventures. Waddles stays with her, but when he realizes that she won't be able to go get food, Waddles offers to sit on the nest.

As Waddles stands post, the themes of loyalty and bravery enter the story. No matter what happens, Waddles won't abandon Emily's eggs. Fortunately, everything works out okay and the ducklings are born. Before Waddles realizes it, though, Summer has come and gone and Fall has arrived. Waddles doesn't like what happens next, but true friendship sometimes means letting go—and, just maybe, saying hello again!

Reviewed by Stephanie Ashley

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