Ten ducklings brave a dip in a child’s wading pool.
“One fluffy duck goes waddling one day. / Two fluffy ducks have found a place to play!” The verse counts its way up to 10 as more and more white ducks enter stage left. When each bird arrives, it ascends a short ladder and crosses a low diving board, but the ducks never make it into the water until the last spread, where the text re-states the title: “SPLISH, SPLASH, SPLOSH!” Various slapstick difficulties impede the critters’ attempts to swim, such as a tree branch that snags one duckling’s inner tube to leave the creature tantalizingly dangling over the water. While the rhyming text scans, it does not always coincide with the jaunty cartoons. The ducks do not look particularly fluffy. A couple of times the birds are said to be grinning or talking, but their bills never reflect this. One of the ducklings is called “Splosh,” but none of the others are named. Melling’s pen-and-ink drawings in fluid lines and muted colors are a delight and have a pleasingly retro look and feel; here’s hoping he can a find (or write) another text worthy of his talents.
The charm of the illustrations cannot redeem their poor interaction with the text. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)