Doreen Cronin

Doreen Cronin specializes in picture books with euphonious prose not afraid to include challenging vocabulary.  Dooby Dooby Moo is one of my favorite read-aloud books – featuring singing “Born to be Wild” in quack.

Large format hardbacks, glossy pages, large serif font, one or two sentences per page.

Duck Series

Betsy Lewin is the illustrator for this series.  The watercolors, typically one to three per page, are bright and cheerful with bold black outlines corralling the white space.  Lewin ably captures a range of facial expressions on the various farm animals (and Farmer Brown); I especially like the pigs.  The images have lots of little touches in the background that enliven rereads and read-alouds.  (When I read aloud a Cronin-Lewin book I describe the images along with reading the text before sharing each two-page spread.)

When Duck is the central character, he’s up to a scheme to benefit his well-being.  Since he’s not mean or a bully, and since he doesn’t cheat, his self-centeredness is amusing.  Each type of animal (sheep, cows, hens, mice, and pigs; all in groups of three) has a distinct personality.  Cronin brings a little happy twist to each ending.

Click, Clack, Surprise!

Little Duck takes center stage as she mimics the other animals’ preparation for the birthday party that they’re throwing for her.  I wonder if Farmer Brown’s cake is made from carrots.  This story doesn’t have as much sophisticated vocabulary but it does have lovely phrases such as “slurp-a-lurping” and “shimmy-shaking”.

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