Duck Days

Duck Days
Co-Authors / Illustrators
  • Rebecca Bender
Publisher Name
Pajama Press
Age Range
Release Date
August 30, 2022
The third title in the acclaimed Slug Days Stories, now in paperback.
Irma is Lauren’s best friend. Irma knows all the strategies Lauren uses when her Autism Spectrum Disorder makes it hard to “go with the flow.” Lauren helps Irma learn English words and understand unfamiliar customs. So why does Irma suddenly want to introduce Lauren to her mountain-biking, litter-dropping neighbor Jonas? Why is Irma calling Jonas her friend?

As if sharing Irma weren’t bad enough, Lauren also has an alarming new problem at school. Their teacher has announced a mountain biking day when the students will learn to ride their bikes on an obstacle course. But Lauren still uses training wheels. She just can’t face the teasing she will get when her classmates see them. She isn’t brave like Irma. She can’t go with the flow like Dad. How can she possibly face this challenge?

From author Sara Leach and illustrator Rebecca Bender comes an honest and warm-hearted successor to the critically acclaimed Slug Days and Penguin Days. With straightforward text and frequent black-and-white illustrations, Duck Days is an accessible chapter book for any young reader with mountains of their own to climb.

Editor review

1 review
cute story about friendship and bravery
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
DUCK DAYS is a sweet chapter book about friendship, being brave, and trying new things. Lauren is a young girl on the autism spectrum, and she has a playdate with her best friend, Irma. When Lauren arrives, things don't go quite to plan with Irma talking about her other friend, Jonas. Lauren worries about what this means for their friendship and worries that she might not be brave enough for Irma, especially given Jonas's cool bike tricks and that she still uses training wheels.

As other things come up with the bikes, Lauren begins to realize that she can be like a duck and not worry about the mean things some children will say - letting their words and laughter roll off of her like water on a duck. She also learns what it means to be brave and a friend in her own way.

What I loved: This was a great story about what it means to be a friend, bravery, and trying new things. Lauren is wrapping her head around a potentially fraught visit with her best friend, when new situations come up and she must try her square breathing and to go with the flow. Children will get a glimpse into what these things can feel like to someone who is on the spectrum, and the authors note at the end expands on this a bit more.

The chapter book style will work well for middle elementary school aged readers, who will also appreciate the cute black-and-white images throughout the story that help bring it to life. The topics and length are best suited to young middle grade readers and the simplicity of the story will make it better for this younger aged crowd.

What left me wanting more: While I appreciated the messages around bullying with trying to ignore what other children are saying and even a bit of friends standing up for each other, it would have been great to have an adult step in or give other tools for handling these situations. It can be really hard to ignore.

Final verdict: DUCK DAYS is a simple and cute illustrated chapter book about friendship, bravery, and other challenges. This will work best for middle elementary school aged readers.
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