Fri. Mar 24th, 2023

Book cover

By choosing to nest in an exceptionally risky public spot—far above the dirty Milwaukee River—darling Gertie offers a perfect distraction to humans in the last anxious days of World War II. Protective heroes—bridge tenders who rescue the mallard and her six cute ducklings in bad weather—ensure a happy ending: After a brief period on display in a department-store window, Gertie and her family are released into a nearby park. From the first high duck’s-eye view, we are drawn into her story through careful, sepia-toned illustrations that seem lifted out of an old scrapbook. Everyone dresses soberly; quotes from people are sourced. An occasional brown face can be seen in the crowds, but most are light-skinned. Varied perspectives, including close-ups of Gertie, atmospheric changing weather, and rich background details, pique interest. Strong backmatter, with archival photos, provides historical background, focusing first on the role of women and children in the war effort and then on the extraordinary efforts of Milwaukee officials and residents to save and celebrate Gertie and her offspring. Like Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings (1941), this is a nonanthropomorphized animal story featuring caring humans. (This book was digitally reviewed.)

By cb2gp