soup of the day: mr. duck means business by tammi sauer and jeff mack!



Even though we’d love to stir up a virtual earthquack to celebrate the official release of a cool new picture book called Mr. Duck Means Business  by Tammi Sauer and Jeff Mack, we MUST REMAIN QUIET.

Yes, quiet — because that’s exactly how Mr. Duck would want it.

(In order to help you in this endeavor, please put these on for the duration of this post. You may waddle at will):


Our friend Mr. Duck, who’s been called “dour,” “disciplined,” and a “fuddy-duddy” (gasp!) by literary critics, loves his strict daily routine, which is marked by blissful solitude and heavenly peace and quiet. “From 6:00 in the morning until 7:00, he would stretch his wings. From 7:00 until 8:00, he would fluff his feathers. At precisely 8:01, he would glide across the perfectly still water.”

This went on day after day, week after week, year after year, and Mr. Duck was perfectly happy — until one hot summer day, when a careening, cannonballing, presupposing PIG splashed right into his pond by mistake! Holy porkchops! No amount of Mr. Duck’s sputtering and muttering seemed to faze that pond-happy pig. In fact, the acrobatic oinker even invited Cow to jump in and join him.

Gah! The nerve of those two — gleefully splishing and splashing no matter how much Mr. Duck “grumbled,” “mumbled,” and “flip-flop-fumbled.”

They even did synchronized swimming, for CRYING OUT LOUD!!

Shhhh! (Oops, sorry.)

To make matters worse, it was just a matter of time before the entire farmyard stampeded down the dock, each furry and feathered creature diving in for a little water ballet and a raucous game of Marco Polo! It was WILD! LOUD! QUAZY and QUOWDED! Anything but PEACE AND QUIET!

Mr. Duck SNAPPED! Finally, finally, somebody got the message, and they all apologized profusely, leaving Mr. Duck to resume his peaceful life. But was complete solitude really so great after all? Could Mr. Duck find a way to be by himself and still enjoy the company of his friends?

Picture book fans will love Tammi’s perfectly tuned tale about the value of compromise. Her skillfully honed text presents Mr. Duck’s frustration, exasperation and ballistic reactions to having his safe routine disrupted with a good dose of humor. Fun-to-pronounce, rhyming onomatopoeiac verbs effectively drive the plot and keep the giggles coming. A wonderful way to show little munchkins that there is a time to be quiet and alone, and a time to be with friends — and however much of each one desires is perfectly fine. The key is to remain flexible and open to change lest you miss out on something worthwhile.

Jeff Mack’s emotive, vibrant acrylic illos thunder and careen off the page with high-octane aquatic glee. Ever seen an ecstatic pig fly through the air? Who knew cows and pigs loved to swim in sync, or that a mouse could surf on a horse’s head? He does great things with varying perspective to establish the contrast between tranquility and mayhem. Take a good look at all the animals’ eyes — Goat, Pig, Cow, Chicks, Mouse, Sheep, Hen — pure bliss! I love the painted signs and pie charts. And of course there are the brilliant posturings of Mr. Duck himself, preening, stretching, gliding, then scolding, grumbling, hyper-quacking. It almost makes you want to jump into the pond just to see what Mr. Duck will do next. ☺

Do you think he’d mind just a little noise so we can celebrate his book?

Trade in your booties for these flippers, cause it’s wet and wild from now on!


Soup soup soup! It’s time for the soup! The alphabet soup kitchen helpers swam across the Atlantic to collect the finest organic pond scum for today’s broth. No need for silly spoons; just DIVE right into the pond bowl with your mouth wide open. Backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, or freestyle — whatever wets your whistle! Up for a little soup snorkel? Go for it! Of course, the best way to congratulate Tammi and Jeff is to go totally quazy and QUACK till the cows (and pigs) come home. All together now; stretch your wings and fluff your feathers: WooHoo, MOOOOOOO, and OINK! CONQUATULATIONS!!!

Today’s Special: Duck Soup and Animal Quackers (garnished with chive grass, whole wheat pasta and mini-breadstick cattails).

Quick! To go with your soup, help yourself to some Cattails Salad (just ducky):

For dessert, some Farmyard Cupcakes:

and Chickie Baby Cookies:

Wait a minute, who’s this?

A Duckcow!

He’s brought us some chocolate cow pies, nice and fresh. The steam’s still rising off them:

Done chewin’? Time to dog paddle over to your local indie or click through to your fave online bookseller to score your very own copy of Mr. Duck Means Business. If you go to a bricks and mortar store, wear your duck feet and pay in bills. Quip and quack to the cashier, making sure he/she knows what a fabulous book you’re purchasing. (A flirtatious flap of your wings or a cute tail feather wiggle might earn you a discount.)


Hooray for Mr. Duck!

Happy Pub Day, Tammi and Jeff!


by Tammi Sauer
illustrated in full color by Jeff Mack
published by Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, January 2011
Picture book for ages 4-8, 32 pp.
Cool themes: Farm animals, social interactions, compromise, self-actualization, humor, friendship, introversion.
On shelves now!!

♥ Official Book Trailer is here.

♥ Tammi Sauer’s Official Website and LiveJournal Blog.

♥ Recent Interview with Tammi at The Restless Writer.

♥ Jeff Mack’s Official Website.



*Spreads from Mr. Duck Means Business posted by permission, text copyright © 2011 Tammi Sauer, illustrations © 2011 Jeff Mack, published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

**Duck Flippers by Rattling Stick, Ltd./flickr

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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