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By Sarah Gourd

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Sarah Gourd’s BING is a simple, easy-to-read, and charming book for young children.
A duckling living on a boy’s garden shed is injured during a storm and must be gently nursed back to health.

Books for toddlers about animals having tiny-scale adventures, with a cutely positive dynamic and a few moral lessons thrown in, are not exactly rare. But, in fairness, there’s always a place for them. In Sarah Gourd’s BING, a young boy becomes aware of a family of ducks living on the roof of the garden shed. When a storm hits, the boy sits by his window and worries about the birds stuck outside. In the morning, he wakes to find one of the ducklings has fallen from its perch, broken its toe, and cut its knee. (Of course, a duck technically doesn’t have a toe, but there’s something both adorable and relatable about the concept.)

Presented in hyper-short bedtime story form, this rhyming text tells an age-appropriately predictable story about Bing, his family, and their interactions with the unnamed boy. After his fall, Bing begins recovery in a shoebox, surrounded by socks, while the boy becomes attached. He thoughtfully develops a relationship with mother duck, too, ensuring she isn’t worried about her duckling while he nurses it back to health.

With just a stanza or two on every other of its 33 pages, each set opposite an illustration, BING is really a bedtime book: a quick and easy tale best suited for a quiet five minutes before shut eye. The text can feel a bit forced at times, and not every line flows so well—due not only to an inconsistent amount of syllables per line but also the number of stressed syllables in a row: “The mother duck seemed very concerned / About her missing baby / I was happy to be able to convince her / What a good duck doctor I could be.” While some of the rhyming is easy and natural, other elements require a little twisting of the language that works well in more adult poetry but might cause some confusion for younger readers (or listeners). The ample illustrations, while adequate, are similarly made up of fairly sparse, bright cartoons that don’t particularly stand out from the crowd in children’s illustration. Overall, though, this book is still an enjoyable (if minor) entry in the genre.

Sarah Gourd’s BING is a simple, easy-to-read, and charming book for young children.

~James Hendicott for IndieReader

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