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A DOZEN DUCKLINGS LOST AND FOUND by Harriet Ziefert

A DOZEN DUCKLINGS LOST AND FOUND

By Harriet Ziefert (Author) , Donald Dreifuss (Illustrator)

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: March 24th, 2003
ISBN: 0-618-14175-8
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

When Farmer Donald removes 12 broken fence posts from the ground just before Mother Duck marches her 12 ducklings across the pasture, a gentle misadventure occurs. Folk-art–style paintings use warm colors to keep the feeling of peril low, but the ducklings do fall into the fence-post holes and are unable to get out until Farmer Donald rescues them. Subtle geometrical patterns, squiggles, and curlicues, along with a lack of linear perspective, create beautiful two-dimensional backgrounds with a slight element of abstraction. With the exception of the human figure of Farmer Donald, who is drawn stiffly and seems to lack artist intentionality, the illustrations are a wonderful combination of simplicity (the deceptively simple shapes of the animals and the two-dimensional spaces they inhabit) and complexity (paint texture, gorgeous color combinations, and ever-changing composition). Only eight ducklings are actually ever lost and found, but Mother Duck’s tendency to count both forwards and backwards is a nice touch; this “counting story,” more story than counting, is calm and colorful. An afterword offers interesting information about the Muscovey ducks that are so charmingly pictured. (Picture book. 2-5)