Mr. Duck Means Business

by Tammi Sauer (Author) Jeff Mack (Illustrator)

Mr. Duck Means Business
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
All Duck wants in the world is a little bit of peace and quiet, but the other animals on the farm just don't understand. Can Duck make friends with his fellow barnyard animals and still get the peace and quiet he wants?
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Publishers Weekly

Mr. Duck enjoys solitude and follows a strict routine in his pond. "At precisely 8:01, he would glide across the perfectly still water," flanked by hand-painted signs that read "No Visitors Welcome" and "Don't Even Think About It." Everything changes one day when a pig does a cannonball off the dock, disrupting the tranquillity. "Mr. Duck all set to give Pig a strongly worded speech regarding private property," when a delighted cow dives in, too, followed by a goat, horse, and chickens. Mack (Hush Little Polar Bear) plays up both the barnyard crew's aquatic glee (at one point the pig and cow do a synchronized swimming routine) as well as Mr. Duck's party-pooper reactions. Amid the festivities, a fuzzy yellow peep finally notices Duck's displeasure: "Perhaps we've overstayed our welcome." Mr. Duck resumes his routine, but, predictably, feels lonesome. He paints a revised sign allowing "noise" for two set hours every afternoon. The animals' merriment is always tangible, yet the fuddy-duddy's new regulations don't really redeem his preceding grumpiness. Even with his late-in-the-game compromise, Mr. Duck is never quite likable. Ages 48. (Jan.) Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--A self-proclaimed introvert, Mr. Duck happily entertains himself and finds his pond perfect for a solitary life. One day, however, the neighborhood animals, uninvited, invade his territory; soon Pig, Cow, Goat, and others are reveling in a splashing, crashing, boisterous manner. Mr. Duck demands that they leave and they do (with proper apologies). Soon, however, he finds that solitude is not so great after all. Rethinking the situation, Mr. Duck finds a way to make time for himself and to enjoy his newfound friends. Sauer's clever use of language--"Mr. Duck grumbled. He mumbled. He flip-flop-fumbled"--will engage children and help soften the getting-along message in a humorous and likable way. Mack picks up on this note, filling the pages with color and action. The expressive characters (especially Mr. Duck) provide amusing touches in illustrations that sprawl across the pages. A pleasing book that offers a viable avenue for discussion about how sometimes compromise is the best way to go.--Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Sauer's dour and disciplined duck and his rhyming hissy fits will most definitely entertain. Mack's furry and feathered wide-eyed animals rendered in ebullient acrylic are a great match for this fine farmyard fable." - KIRKUS
Tammi Sauer
Tammi Sauer is the author of Chicken Dance, Bawk and Roll, Cowboy Camp, and Your Alien, which has earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus (all Sterling). She is an active blogger ( and highly involved in the children's writer community, in addition to being a great promoter of her own books. Tammi has worked as a teacher and library media specialist and now lives in OK with her husband and their two children. Her local indie bookstore, Best of Books, in Edmond, OK, has named July 9th Tammi Sauer Day. Follow her on Twitter at @SauerTammi.

Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator whose passion for children's books began when she came across Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats as a child in the 1960s. Snowy Day marked one of the first representations of black children in picture books, and seeing a character that looked like her and lived in a neighborhood like her own was a turning point in Vanessa's life. Vanessa hopes to inspire young readers as Keats did for her and a generation of children. She is the author and illustrator of Let Freedom Sing and Don't Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table (both Blue Apple Books), and has illustrated numerous children's books including One Love and Every Little Thing (both Chronicle), words by Bob & Cedella Marley, and Presenting Tallulah (Aladdin), written by Tori Spelling. Vanessa lives in Charlotte, NC, with her husband of 20 years, their daughter, and a very rambunctious cat named Stripes.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date
January 20, 2011
Paula Wiseman Collection
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002090 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Farm Animals
JUV002280 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Ducks, Geese, Etc.
Library of Congress categories
Humorous stories
North Carolina Children's Book Award
Nominee 2012 - 2012
Oklahoma Book Award
Finalist 2012 - 2012

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