This tale by Emma Bland Smith is the one that imagines how things went when Robert McCloskey decided to write Make Way For Ducklings. Their take is a bit poetic license I am sure, however Mr. McCloskey’s Marvelous Mallards: The Making of Make Way for Ducklings, is a fun way to see how one of his most famous works was made. From real ducklings to full grown ducks; from editors not willing to take the “okay” and from his own need to have things perfect, the ups and downs of being an artist unfold. There are humorous moments, serious ones, and just fun. The artwork of Becca Stadtlander is a bit muted, but not drained of color. They are not flashy, but they have character. Things can be busy, but not necessarily crowded .
Another biography in a picture book format is Cloaked in Courage: Uncovering Deborah Sampson, Patriot Soldier by Beth Anderson. This book does not give you an overly detailed look at a piece of history, but what we know about Sampson. Things as simple as the correct spelling of her name have been lost to history and lack of grammatical rules. However, Beth Anderson shows us the courage one woman had to do what she felt was right. There is no conjecture to what her motives are or allusions to sexuality, but we can fill things in if we want. Anne Lambelet’s illustrations look classically done. Colors and details are used to set the mood. Things are comfortable, but also a bit stiff at times, making it not for the younger reader/listener. However, they are a pleasant addition to the text and support it well.
Both titles are available, but I read both via an online reader.