This tale of duckling rescue has a surprisingly large cast for a 32-page picture book.
There’s mother duck and her six ducklings, of course. There’s the boy who stops traffic when the mother duck runs across the street after the ducklings are washed down through a grating. There’s the middle-aged man who shows up with a net to fish the baby ducklings out of the storm drain. There’s a little red-haired girl—his daughter?—who holds the ducklings in a cardboard box as he drives the ducks to a nearby pond in his car. She waves to them as they swim safely away. Even a neighborhood dog stops by to provide moral support. Skeptics may roll their eyes at the idea that it takes a village to save a duck, but they will probably still be charmed by the pictures. It would be easy to believe that the energetic pen-and-watercolor illustrations were sketched from life as McCully followed ducks around her neighborhood. The story may seem too sweet to be true, even though it resembles a real-life incident in Montauk, N.Y., that was also the subject of Lucky Ducklings, by Eva Moore and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (2013).
Very few readers will remain unmoved as that mother duck runs from grating to grating, trying to catch a glimpse of her children; everyone loves a duck. (Early reader. 3-8)