A Geoduck Is Not a Duck : A Story of a Unique Pacific Northwest Mollusk by Candy Wellins and Ellie Peterson

Happy, happy Friday from Florida! I'm grateful Ellie Peterson and Candy Wellins stopped by to finish my sentences. We discussed A Geoduck Is Not a Duck's cover, the Pacific Northwest, Sea Star, and more. I wrote the words in purple, Ellie wrote the words in black, and Candy wrote the words in green. Congratulations, Ellie and Candy! 

A Geoduck Is Not a Duck's cover gives you a feel for the main characters right off the bat. Sea Star’s oblivious enthusiasm and love for the spotlight are such a contrast to Crab’s… well, crabbiness. This was one of four cover ideas I sent to Little Bigfoot and while it has the fewest illustrated elements, it’s my favorite. I love the bold hand lettering and vibrant colors. Adding a speech bubble to the cover gives readers a hint that this book will be comic in style, which I think is enticing for kids.

Candy Wellins’ manuscript for A Geoduck Is Not a Duck had me laughing out loud from the first read through. Wondering if it was as funny as I thought it was, I brought it to my critique group and assigned reading parts. We. Were. In. Stitches!!!! I knew I had to illustrate this. Not only that, but I had my own geoduck story from childhood. My mom used to drag us to the beach to dig clams. Once she had a bucket of geoducks and being the not-quite-bright nine-year-old I was, I decided to poke the smooth skin between their slightly open shells. A geoduck immediately clamped my finger so tightly, I thought I was going to lose it! I started screaming like crazy and my mom had to come over and break the shell to free my finger. I had a dent in that nail for the next five years. Maybe illustrating this story was a little geoduck payback.

The Pacific Northwest is my playground. I love hiking, trail running, snowboarding, beachcombing, watching tidepools, identifying mushrooms and slugs, and picking blackberries. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

A Geoduck Is Not a Duck tells the story of a case of mistaken identity. A television news crew—spearheaded by star reporter, Sea Star—is sent to investigate the sighting of a gooey duck on the beach. Confusion ensues when Sea Star fails to realize—despite the persistence of a very knowledgeable eyewitness--that he’s actually looking for a geoduck (pronounced “gooey duck”), the world’s largest species of burrowing clams. Told in a graphic format with lots of humor, I hope the story informs and entertains young readers.

Ellie Peterson’s illustrations really pack a punch! She did such a fantastic job bringing the characters to life and infusing them with humor and personality. Pay attention to what’s happening in the background of each scene because there’s a lot going on.

Geoducks are so fascinating. They are one of our planet’s longest-living species, often living for a hundred years or longer. Pretty amazing when you consider that geoducks are around three feet long and their shells are only about eight inches in diameter. That leaves them more than a bit exposed and quite susceptible to predator attacks (hence all that burrowing).

Thank you, Candy and Ellie! 

CANDY WELLINS is a lifelong writer and book lover. A former elementary school teacher, she has a BA in journalism and an M.Ed. in literacy education. She’s now a full-time mom to three wonderful children who keep her up-to-date and immersed in kid’s literature. When she’s not reading, writing or mother, she loves running, traveling and naps! Candy and her family make their home in Central Texas.

ELLIE PETERSON is a picture book author, illustrator, and educator living in the Seattle area. Her work is inspired by the countless interactions she's had with kids after 20 wonderful years as a classroom teacher and her experience growing up as a biracial army brat. Her goal is to make books that amuse, intrigue, and inspire children of all ages.

Look for A Geoduck Is Not a Duck on March 5, 2024. Pre-order a copy from your favorite bookshop. 

Learn about the Pacific Northwest’s most unique shellfish in this hilarious account of mistaken identity.

In this fun and engaging graphic novel picture book mashup, a beachside breaking news story clues the audience into a dramatic development: there’s a gooey duck on the loose!

As the report goes on, it becomes clear to the audience that the news reporter doesn’t realize her story isn’t about a duck covered in goo but is instead about the world’s largest burrowing clam, a geoduck (pronounced gooey duck).

This story of mistaken identity is full of more twists and turns than a rough day at sea and will have everyone laughing as the reporter slowly uncovers the truth about the geoduck.

The book also includes fun facts about geoducks.


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