cover image Five Little Ducklings Go to Bed

Five Little Ducklings Go to Bed

Carol Roth, illus. by Sean Julian. North-South (Ingram, dist.), $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-73584-128-4

Just like one bad apple can spoil the bunch, one duckling who isn’t ready for bed can turn his compliant siblings into disobedient little ducks who conspire to stay up all night. Roth and Julian, who previously collaborated on Where’s My Mommy? (2012), offer a rambunctious bedtime story that bounds along with nursery rhyme–like verse and cheery visuals that give a full sense of the ducklings’ personalities and home life (each duckling gets a signature hat, including pink and blue knit caps and a green bucket hat). After Mama duck declares that it’s bedtime, scenes set within the ducks’ cozy island home show the ducklings donning pajamas and removing blankets from a wardrobe. But after “the fifth little duckling said with delight,/ ‘I’m not going to bed tonight!’ ” a rowdy pillow fight ensues, until Mama gives the ducklings an old-fashioned scolding (“Naughty little ducklings... what did you do?/ Naughty little ducklings... shame on you!”), reducing them to tears. Several reassurances of unconditional love follow, but it’s still a jarring moment—one that will probably discourage any post-reading pillow fights. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)