Quack
Quack
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Annotation: Ten-year-old Shady Cook struggles with selective mutism caused by anxiety. His best friend, Pouya, gets it--despite being the class clown, he has his own hang-ups lurking just below the surface. Shady's parents, however, are eager to find a way to help their son start talking more.
Catalog Number: #205880
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Albert Whitman
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 223 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-8075-6706-X
ISBN 13: 978-0-8075-6706-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019047741
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
A foundling duck becomes an emotional-support animal and brings the whole fifth grade together.Pouya and Shady’s good deed—reuniting some ducklings with their mama—finds one duckling accidentally returning home with the two boys. Shady’s mom almost makes him return the duckling to its mother, until she sees Shady murmuring and quacking softly to the little bird. Shady has severe anxiety and selective mutism; once his mother realizes the effect the duck has on Shady, she’s converted. The duck, Svenrietta, becomes an emotional-support duck and a “registered service animal” at school. (The multiple kids who share narration duty also share the common misunderstanding that an emotional-support bird has the same legal status as a service animal.) What follow are the sort of charming misadventures one might expect when a diaper-clad waterfowl attends class. Svenrietta makes Shady and Pouya popular for the first time. Wealthy, white Shady sticks up for all the other “underducks”: the ESL kids; the kids who are poor like Pouya, who’s an Iranian refugee in a two-mom family; DuShawn, who is gender-nonconforming. The empowering diversity themes are well-meaning but stand on a shaky underpinning. In addition to the propagation of common myths about domesticating wild animals, service animals, and refugees, there’s an overarching Christmas plot in a story where one of the primary narrators is from a Muslim family (though religion per se goes entirely unmentioned).Funny duck shenanigans don’t mitigate the concerns the text raises. (author’s note) (Fiction. 7-10)
School Library Journal
Gr 37 Teachers and librarians looking for a great title for social-emotional learning need look no further than this endearing and humorous novel written from four points of view. Fifth grader Shady is the main character and is selectively mute. Most of the narrative heavy lifting is done by Pouya, his best/only friend and his sister, Manda. She is the only person to whom Shady actually speaks. Pouya understands him perfectly though, "He talks all the time. Just not with words." Pearl, Shady's former best friend turned nemesis, provides the fourth perspective. Shady and Pouya rescue some baby ducks after school one day and inadvertently bring one home. The mother duck rejects the duckling when they attempt to reunite them, and it turns out the duckling, now named Svenrietta, has already bonded with Shady. She calms him down and becomes his therapy animal, so Shady gets to bring her to school, much to Pearl's dismay. The school setting and a variety of social situations are well portrayed, as are the effects each might have on a young person with an anxiety disorder. While Shady has a supportive family and one good friend, Svenrietta helps Shady's classmates understand and appreciate his uniqueness. VERDICT With discussions around anxiety disorders on the rise in elementary schools, this windows/mirror story is an excellent addition to youth literature collections, and should be well received. Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ
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Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (4/1/20)
Word Count: 38,175
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.0 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 509953 / grade: Middle Grades

Ten-year-old Shady Cook struggles with selective mutism caused by anxiety. His best friend, Pouya, understands--despite being the class clown, he has his own hang-ups lurking just below the surface. Shady's parents, however, are eager to find a way to help their son start talking more, so when a live duck waddles into their lives and Shady starts to respond, they reluctantly decide to give Svenrietta the emotional support duck a chance. Before long, Shady, Pouya, and their diaper-wearing duck are working to help all of the underdogs (or is it underducks?) at their school--and there are many.


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