A traditional rhyme serves as the basis for an adaptation with an expanded worldview.
As in the original, the story begins with five ducklings and a parent. But this time it’s Papa Duck doing the calling. The little ducks’ adventures take place over a week, with one fewer returning home each day. Rather than always going “over the hills and far away,” however, these five little ducks enjoy exploring new places and meeting new friends. They have fun playing in the woods with a winsome flying squirrel, frolicking with wild turkey chicks, imitating a turtle, wallowing in the mud, and splashing in a kiddie pool. On Saturday, however, all five respond to their father’s call, and the family is reunited just in time to share a day of rest on Sunday (mandated by Mama Duck). Two pages of information follow, offering close-up portraits and basic facts about some of the animals featured. As always, Fleming’s artwork, created by pulp painting with pastel pencil accents, is lively and appealing. Her clever tweaks to the familiar text allow her to showcase a variety of natural environments. Whether it’s a panorama of farmland or a shadowy woodland glade, each double-page spread offers plenty of intriguing details limned in bright colors.
Packed with personality and charm, these five ducklings will waddle their ways into the hearts of readers and listeners. (Picture book. 2-6)