Three ducklings hatch and try to follow their mother, with a watchful worm observing.
“Three tiny ducks jump right in. / SPLISH! SPLISH! SPLASH!! / Swim. Swim… // Sink.” At that point the author/illustrator calls a do-over, understanding that the rhythm and logical story arc are off. The ducks try again, the third duck is again unsuccessful, and the worm comments with a quizzical look on its face: “Huh...I didn’t know ducks could sink. This is a problem. Ducks need to swim.” The narrator laments: “AND all of this sinking is ruining the rhyme.” Following this, the sinking duck uses an array of humorous strategies to achieve its goal, winsomely depicted in the bold, firmly outlined illustrations, with their lovely aqueous blue water and white, yellow, and orange ducks. Some of the solutions are ingenious: “Stilts to stay high and dry?” “State-of-the-art scuba gear?” “A Jet Ski” motors the duck along in one of the more exciting pictures, full of froth shaking up fish in the wake left behind by the machine. But none of these ploys works until the worm and the duck create a pirate sailing ship out of the duckling’s cracked eggshell. Maybe this will work for the youngest pirate fans—but as the narrator feared, it makes for a pretty flat arc.
A duck turns into a pirate, but not much adventure happens. (Picture book. 3-5)