Kirkus Reviews QR Code


illustrated by Ivan Bates

Age Range: 2 - 6

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-439-74693-0
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Bates expertly applies full-page soft watercolor-and-pencil illustrations to the classic song. This verse song tells the story of a mother duck whose ducklings, one by one, wander away to play with other animals, such as a cow, crab and seagull, leaving her bereft until she is reunited with her charges. Consisting of a simple rhyming pattern, each verse accounts for the constantly diminishing number of ducklings waddling preciously behind their mother. This countdown of sorts provides an illustrated and simple counting lesson. For a song with instructions to be sung “brightly,” the idea of a mother losing her children is a heavy sentiment; Bates’s avoidance of sharp edges, use of a calming palette and love-filled reunion scene, however, keeps this tale light and enjoyable. As an excellent storytime read, this will encourage children to quack along—and quite likely, listeners young and old will slip into the song’s familiar melody, printed on the final page. (Picture book. 2-6)