Ducks cavort in this spirited board-book adaptation of Grahame’s famous poem from The Wind in the Willows.
“Ducks are a-dabbling, / Up tails all!” In the poem, ducks are described joyously feeding in their pond, and this cheery rendition preserves the spirit and the best read-aloud elements of the original. Both the strong rhythm and animated descriptors remain, but a few lines get a makeover to simplify the language for a U.S. audience. Where the original reads, “Slushy green undergrowth / Where the roaches swim,” this edition scraps the almost-certain-to-confuse “roaches” in favor of “where the fishies swim.” Some other uncommon words, such as “larder” and “swifts,” are also changed, and their replacements feel quite natural within the original cadence. The poem’s musicality makes it an excellent choice to share with large groups, as does the sturdy, oversized trim. Playful illustrations in inviting shades of aqua, green, and tan make the poem additionally accessible, with sprawling double-page spreads that look like a marshy wonderland with dragonflies flitting, ducklings waddling, and pink-cheeked frogs hopping. Some of the lively digital illustrations present deeply layered underwater scenes, with close-ups of ducks diving amid bubbles, sparkling white highlights, and shadowy fishes, while equally attractive minimalist land scenes allow the richly colored birds to strut and shine, especially those hunter-green mallard drakes.
A lively and lovely update. (Board book. 1-4)