A mother duck’s instructive intentions are interrupted by one of her mischievous ducklings and his wayward ways.
A duck family of four sets out for the pond and a beginning swim lesson. Ducklings Right Way and Your Way follow obediently, while Wrong Way promptly refuses to comply, plopping down in the middle of the path, diving into the bushes to retrieve a juicy snail, splashing through a puddle and otherwise slowing the trip down for all. “At this rate, we’ll never make it to the pond…. I’d better carry you, I suppose” is mother duck’s exasperated response. But when a passing car forces everyone to quickly flap out of its path, Wrong Way, who wasn’t paying attention, is blown, tossed and tumbled onto his back and left behind. Eager to catch up, he rushes right past his family and splashes out into the middle of the pond. Recognizing his unorthodox ways, mother finally acknowledges that her little impish duckling should be renamed My Way. Light charcoal sketches infused with green and yellow muted watercolor washes adroitly depict the humorous scenarios, yet the unfortunate choice of names creates a level of didactic moralizing that spoils the overall theme of individuality in a large family.
A mediocre substitute for the eloquent simplicity of Nancy Tafuri’s definitive Have You Seen My Duckling or even the classic Story About Ping. (Picture book. 3-5)