A duck family encounters a surprise detour as they attempt to cross a bridge.
One by one, Mother Duck and her five little ducklings come into view. As they waddle across the bridge, a gust of wind blows one duckling off and into the river below. Mother Duck exclaims, “What should I do? / Where should I go, / with four on the bridge / and one below?” The remaining ducklings follow in turn, and each time Mother Duck wonders how to respond, changing the numbers as appropriate. As each duck initially appears and when it moves from the bridge to the river, the number words are emphasized in orange print that stands out against white backgrounds and the otherwise black type. The combination of the visual and written elements depicting the ongoing addition and subtraction as the ducks change location makes for a powerful representation of these beginning numerical concepts. The repeated rhyming phrases encourage interactive reading and predicting what might happen next. Prolific children’s author Fox has teamed up yet again with illustrator Horacek on this work, her collaborator on the effervescent Where Is the Green Sheep? (2004) and several other titles. The illustrations are deceptively simple, presenting the action of the story exactly as written with the use of bold lines, minimal colors, and ample negative space.
Straightforward illustrations, a spirited refrain, and engaging number play add up to a delightful read. (Picture book. 2-6)