by Garret Freymann-Weyr, Illustrated by Erin McGuire

Candlewick Press, $16.99, 50 pages

Along the canals of Venice, California, two ducks named George and his sister, Cecile swim the calm waters and enjoy the friendship of Polina Panova. Polina makes magical dresses made from thread, silk, cotton, velvet, grass, flowers, pieces of the night sky, and strawberry jam. She is quite happy, until her prince charming, Sebastian Sterling, leaves forever. Everyone deals with loss differently. Author, Garret Freymann-Weyr, in French Ducks in Venice, gives readers a touching, heartfelt story about recovering from loss. Time and good friends are often what is needed to begin to heal a broken heart.

Illustrator, Erin McGuire’s digitally-created artwork is lovely, gives the story depth and meaning, and is reminiscent of traditional animated movies. Readers will notice that each character copes with Sebastian’s absence in a different way. Polina closes up her little house and does not come out, even to visit her duck friends. Cecile accepts what has happened. George follows Sebastian and wants an explanation. He realizes that sometimes all a friend can offer is love and support during troubled times. Children and adults can find meaning in this sweet book about the healing power of time and friendship.

Kathryn Franklin