Duck's Big Day! Click, Clack, SURPRISE! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
IT'S A VERY BIG DAY ON THE FARM.
THE CAKE IS BAKING.
STREAMERS ARE STREAMING. MICE ARE FLOATING PAST THE WINDOW....
Mice floating past the windows? Yes, actually. It seems the mice have been assigned the task of decorating with the helium balloons for what looks to be a birthday party, and they've gotten, er, carried away with the job. Signs are posted, with strange disclaimers from "neigh"-saying deniers added in bold marker.
YOU'RE INVITED TO
LITTLE DUCK'S BIRTHDAY PARTY!
PIN THE TAIL ON THE DONKEY.(Cancelled by Donkey)
But with the mice rounded up and the balloons tied down, it's time for the party guests to get all gussied up for the occasion. Farmer Brown wears his brand-new straw hat. All the yellow ducks take a long bubble bath. A party novice, Little Duck watches and follows the lead, rub-a-dubbing in the tub, too. The sheep go for a shearing, and Little Duck gets his topknot clipped, too.
Cat gives her fur a lick, and Duck does a lick, too. The chickens take a dust bath, shimmy-shaking their tail feathers, and Little Duck shakes his tail, too. The pigs choose a mud bath, and Little Duck joins in a squishy and squashy session. Then they all walk to the party under the maple tree, where Farmer Brown is lighting the candles on his cake.
But the host and party guests are the ones are the ones to get a surprise, when the guest of honor shows up, drippy, damp with duck spit, muddy, dusty, and totally disheveled just as the gang is ready to sing Happy Birthday, Dear Little Duckie!
It's a surprise, all right, in Doreen Cronin's eleventh book in her best-selling series, Click, Clack, Surprise! (Atheneum Books, 2016). Artist Betsy Lewin carries most of the load in this continuing collaborative surprise party tale, with her humorous illustrations fleshing out this simple down-on-the farm story with clever wit and the familiar comic characters who have delighted youngsters for a couple of decades. Says School Library Journal, "Readers are likely to get caught up in the onomatopoetic fun and may be inspired by Lewin's energetic watercolors to wiggle, shake, and strut along with the animals."
Cronin and Lewin's first best-seller together was Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type and since that time have turned out many kid-pleasing stories of Farmer Brown and friends (see more reviews here).