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Don't Fidget a Feather!


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About the Author

Erica Silverman is the author of several books including Big Pumpkin; When the Chickens Went on Strike, which was a Sydney Taylor Honor book; and Sholom's Treasure, which won the Sydney Taylor Award and was a runner-up for the National Jewish Book Award. Her books have received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, the California Young Reader Medal, ABA Pick of the List, and the first book in her early-reader series Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa won the Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor. She lives in Los Angeles, California. Visit her at www.ericasilverman.com. S. D. Schindler is the popular and versatile illustrator of many books for children, including Big Pumpkin and the ALA Notable Book Don't Fidget a Feather, both by Erica Silverman, How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky, and Johnny Appleseed by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Ben t. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


PreS-Gr 1‘Brimming with confidence, Duck and Gander challenge one another to contests of swimming and flying, hoping to establish once and for all who is the ``champion of champions.'' When the results are inconclusive, Duck suggests a freeze-in-place contest. A host of hilarious interruptions arise to break their concentration, but both remain perfectly still. The situation turns ominous when Fox stumbles onto the contestants and sees an easy dinner. He drags them into his den and prepares a savory stew, until, at the last minute, Duck sacrifices the contest to save Gander from the pot. The story closes with the two friends sharing a steaming bowl of vegetable stew. Children are sure to identify with these characters and their friendly, yet relentless, pursuit to do each other ``one better.'' Schindler's soft illustrations capture the colors of the forest, growing appropriately darker as the crisis builds. As in Silverman and Schindler's Big Pumpkin (Macmillan, 1992), there is just enough predictability here to keep youngsters involved. The engaging art and energetic story line make this a perfect choice for reading aloud.‘Lisa S. Murphy, formerly at Dauphin County Library System, Harrisburg, PA

One-upmanship goes toe-to-toe (or web-to-web?) with camaraderie when Duck and Gander compete for the title of ``one and only, true and forever champion of champions.'' Duck can swim faster and Gander can fly higher, but a freeze-in-place contest (``Don't move. Don't talk. Don't fidget a feather'') will settle the matter once and for all. Silverman (Big Pumpkin) deploys lighthearted repetitions (``Duck did not move a muscle. She did not quack a quack. She did not fidget one feather'') to portray Duck and Gander holding firm against playful rabbits, curious crows and even a gust of wind. When a hungry fox hoists the motionless Gander into a boiling stew, however, friendship prevails, and Duck leaps forward to save the day. Dappled illustrations suggest filtered sunlight and bucolic countryside, while Fox arrives in a flourish of russet. Duck and Gander, with their comic expressions, are an endearing pair, and Schindler (Great-aunt Ida and Her Great Dane Doc) does an especially good job of reconciling the prevailing humor with the menace presented by Fox. A well-paced picture book, surefooted in both text and illustrations. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)

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