Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2006 January #1 PreS. There are two familiar ditties known by the title "Five Little Ducks"; presented here, along with its musical notation, is the counting song about a mother who loses track of her distractible ducklings. British illustrator Bates, whose watercolors resemble those of Sam Williams (Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck, 2000), clearly represents the subtractive concepts as each of five ducklings wanders off one by one, although some young readers may be baffled by Mother's merry continuation despite her diminishing brood. All is swiftly set to rights, though, when Mother's final, plaintive "Quack, quack, quack" brings the prodigal ducklings "waddling back"--each bearing gifts for Mother. Although more literal and visually staid than Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey's version (1989) in the Raffi Songs to Read series, this one's pastel hues will plug especially well into springtime themes, and new perspectives on favorite songs can always find a place in the storytime circuit. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews : PW Reviews 2006 February #2
A golden oldie from the kids' song catalogue (the music for which is reprinted on the book's final page) gets an adorably funny treatment from Bates (Just You and Me ). What exactly happens to the disappearing ducklings when Mother duck tries to call her brood back to her side with a "Quack, quack, quack"? Bates imagines that each feathery waddler meets up with a friendly member of another species, and is inspired to acquire a present for mom that reflects the new pal's distinctive habitat. The first duck meets a smiling beaver, and snags a worm from its stream; the second plucks a flower from a contented cow's meadow, while a third duckling sees a crab and discovers a shell on the shore. With the song's lyrics as the only text, the book offers readers plenty of opportunity to imagine their own dialogue. Bates renders the ducks' benevolent encounters with customary effortlessness. He strikes just the right balance between realism and anthropomorphism, and finds a sweet-natured humor in contrasting the diminutive ducks with their much bigger acquaintances. The wrap-up finds all the ducklings "waddling back," bearing gifts for Mother that they've found all by themselvesÃ¢â¬"a nice message that a little independence is not such a bad thing. Ages 3-5. (Feb.)
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School Library Journal Reviews : SLJ Reviews 2006 February
PreS-K -In this newly illustrated version of the classic song, the ducklings become distracted by creatures in their environs and wander away from their mother. When fewer and fewer of her offspring return, she looks increasingly forlorn and anxious. When the sad mother duck goes out for her final "Quack, quack, quack," all of the youngsters return, each one bearing her a gift from their adventures. BatesÃ¢â¬â¢s muted watercolors bring a lively energy, reminiscent of Robert McCloskeyÃ¢â¬â¢s ducklings, to this beloved song. The artistÃ¢â¬â¢s sweet and nostalgic adaptation is unique for its gentle and warm tone. Some young children may confuse the brown markings on the ducklings for mud, but this bit of realism will also help them tell one yellow duck from another.-Rachel G. Payne, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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