Tad Hills

Author & Illustrator visits for PARP

"It’s all in the eyebrows," said Tad Hills, author and illustrator of the beloved Duck & Goose and Rocket series. He visited Katonah Elementary School’s kindergarteners and first graders on March 7 and 8.

His visit was part of the school’s celebration of PARP and sponsored by the Katonah Elementary School PTO.

It was exciting for the students to meet the person behind the books they knew so well and discuss creative decisions like color choice, story direction and … eyebrows.



It's all in the eyebrows

Reading Duck & Goose Together

Reading Duck's Emotions

Hills created Duck on a felt board, showing the students how a profile of the character was made of various yellow and orange shapes—a circle for the head, triangles for the webbed feet.

He held up a thin black piece of felt—Duck’s eyebrow—and said, “Watch what happens.”

  • A straight tilted eyebrow: angry, said the students.
  • Eyebrows arched: surprised, they named.
  • A squiggled eyebrow: worried.

Emotional Literacy Folded into Simple Stories

He also read "Duck & Goose Go to the Beach" to the students—a sweet story about friends leaving their homes to swim in the ocean and play on the sand. Emotional literacy was folded into discussions of the lovely watercolor illustrations.

"He is sad,” said several of the students, looking at one of the illustrations of Duck. They pointed out the gray clouds and drooping flowers on that page. “He’s walking slow,” said one student. “His head is down.”

When asked where his ideas came from, Hills said, “I’m like a scientist doing experiments.”

He reminded the students that they, too, were writers and illustrators who do experiments.