cover image Ducks Away!

Ducks Away!

Mem Fox, illus. by Judy Horacek. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-338-18566-9

The team behind Where Is the Green Sheep? and other titles uses its creative alchemy to turn a simple counting story into a funny page-turner. A yellow mother duck is crossing a bridge with her five ducklings; the nicely distilled setting consists of an arc of gray stones with a mottled purple-blue stripe of water underneath. As soon as the family reaches the apex of the bridge, the ducklings start dropping down into the water one by one—some by choice, some by accident. They take to their new situation like, well, ducks to water, but Mother Duck is in a tizzy until her brood coaxes her off the bridge (“Go with the flow! Five, four, three... two, one, GO!”) and into the water with them. The slightly scattered text (“Actually it was two little ducks. No, it was three little ducks. Wait! It was four little ducks”) will draw in readers from the first page, and they’ll admire how the toylike ducklings, despite their intense dot eyes and oversize orange bills and feet, exude a cool-as-a-cucumber attitude. Ages 3–5. (Jan.)