Gertie, The Darling Duck of WWII

Sleeping Bear. Mar. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534111714.
K-Gr 4–A true story of a city, World War II, and a duck family that created a moment of community and hope in dark times. In April, 1945, a duck nested on a piling high above the Milwaukee River. Her precarious perch was close enough to a bridge that it caught the attention of people passing nearby. Soon the duck was named Gertie, and newspaper reporters, searching for something hopeful in the midst of dark times, created a media sensation out of Gertie and her eggs that were laid high above the river. When the eggs hatched, the crowds and the media attention grew, and Gertie’s story spread around the world to American soldiers far from home. Harrowing moments are captured in the text, and nostalgic illustrations with a sepia-toned quality create endearing characters out of the ducks and the people who worked hard to keep their hopeful story alive. Gertie’s tale ends happily; back matter expands on the tale as well as the role of children and the home front during WWII.
VERDICT A delightful historical tale that will encourage young people to find similar “good news” stories in their world today. Recommended.

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