Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 03/01/2004 PreS-Gr 2-This award-winning team returns with a third story of farm animals with ambition. Duck is tired of doing his chores (mowing the lawn and grinding the coffee beans), and decides to hold an election to replace Farmer Brown. When he wins, Duck quickly realizes that running a farm requires too much hard work, and sets out to run for governor. With the help of the hens, and speeches "that only other ducks can understand," he eventually ends up running the country. Executive office gives him a headache, however, so Duck returns to the farm to work on his autobiography-on a computer, with the typewriter from Click, Clack, Moo (S & S, 2000) in the wastepaper bin next to him. Lewin's characteristic humorous watercolors with bold black outlines fill the pages with color and jokes. Cronin's text is hilarious for kids and adults and includes a little math and quite a bit about the electoral process. The animals, who have no verbal language that humans can understand, are empowered by the use of the written word, and the subliminal message comes through loud and clear-one can almost hear youngsters thinking, "Watch out grown-ups! Just wait till I learn to read."-Jane Barrer, Washington Square Village Creative Steps, New York City Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2004 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2004 As previous adventures (Click, Clack, Moo, BCCB 9/00, Giggle, Giggle, Quack, 6/02) have shown, Farmer Brown’s barnyard is filled with political animals. It’s therefore not surprising that Duck, rebelling against his contribution to labor, decides that an election for the leadership of the farm should be held; nor is it hugely surprising, given the livestock-heavy electorate, that Duck trounces Farmer Brown in the election. Finding that running a farm is no fun at all, Duck decides to expand his ambitions and makes a gubernatorial run, successfully winning over the incumbent. Running a state’s not much better, though, so he then campaigns for the White House, edging out the incumbent there; unsurprisingly, running a country proves to be just as tedious as the previous positions, so Duck hands over the reins to the Veep and heads back to the farm. This has even more adult-aimed jokes than previous versions (lots of evocations of specific campaigns in the text and classic images in the art), and in light of the 2000-esque jokes about recounts, it’s a tad ironic (or pointed?) that the book relies on narrow popular-vote margins to get Duck into office. There’s still plenty of humor for the pre-voting audience, however, such as lazy Duck’s winning of all the elections and regretting it soon after and the regular request for a recount (always made by Duck’s opponent, always resolved by the finding of ballots stuck to somebody or other, and always performed to the opponent’s detriment). Lewin’s thick lines have a homey irregularity in keeping with the slightly skewed reality of the world they limn, with washes of color (often election-year red, white, and blue) decorating the pages like bunting; Duck himself isn’t all that charismatic a figure as a candidate (a compromise choice, perhaps?), but he hits his real dramatic stride when he’s mournfully overworked. This will be a natural to liven up units on the democratic process or even to introduce classroom elections—or just as a readaloud antidote to the election-year plethora of paid political announcements. - Copyright 2004 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

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