Picks and Pans Review: And Then There Was Duck
by John Ward
Had it up to the whiskers with cartoon books about cats and pigs? These two little volumes will have you quacking up and trying to make a pun on whatever sound the armadillo makes. Ward, who ordinarily is a ceramics sculptor, does not draw silly little creatures of the Daffy and Donald variety; his characters join Mensa, the organization for certifiable geniuses, are the emcees at celebrity duck roasts, and sit around gazing at the "Hollywood" sign in a panel captioned "Disillusioned ducks." This is dry, subtle humor that lapses into sight gags such as the waiter proffering a platter bearing a strange object to a flat-faced fowl customer and saying, "Your bill, sir." Bryant, an art professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., has given the armadillo, that peculiar little armored critter made famous in Texas country songs, its due. He may even have given it a little more than its due, with such panels as "The Seeing Eye Armadillo," "Leading Authority on Armadillo Culture" (a drawing of a vulture), "Dangers Encountered by the Pony Express" (an armadillo crossing the trail in front of the horse), and "How Armadillos Ford Rivers in India" (on an elephant's back). If nothing else, this book will give you a moment of pause the next time you're driving outside San Antonio and happen to run over one of the little devils. (Bryant: Pelican Publishing, Gretna, La., paper, $3.95; Ward: Pocket, paper, $3.95).
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