Review Blog

Aug 03 2018

Duck! by Meg McKinlay

cover image

Ill. by Nathaniel Eckstrom. Walker, 2018. ISBN 9781925381535
(Age: 3-6) Recommended. Themes: Ducks, Farm Animals. Duck races around the farmyard, annoying all the farm animals by shouting 'Duck!' The noble, tall horse who is busy swishing his tail doesn't like Duck's rude interruption and is cross with the bird's loud exclamation. He races around, jumping on the cow's back, disturbing the wallowing pig, making each animal more and more angry. No-one will listen to his warning. When Duck finally changes his one-word exclamation, the animals finally realise that they should have listened to him.
Meg McKinlay's charming story is a delight to read aloud, with the repetitions, exclamations and animal descriptions perfect for audience participation. 'Don't be ridiculous! You are a duck and he is a horse and I am a cow . . . you have funny webbed feet and I have these fine cloven hooves.' The animal characteristics will stretch the reader's vocabulary, making for some engaging discussion. The author's extended play on one word is fun and surprising.
Nathaniel Eckstrom's autumnal illustrations are the perfect visual narrative, foretelling the disaster about to strike the farm. Duck's frustrations are evident, in his frantic movements, his wide-open beak, pointing wings and final addition of the bucket hat are delightfully portrayed. The other animals are shown with their more boastful sides, eyes closed, sneering and grumpy mouths. There's even a reference to a famous children's novel in the final scenes, something wonderful to discuss with a preschool or junior primary class!
"Duck!" by Meg McKinlay is reminiscent of the tale of Henny Penny and her falling sky and is a fun and surprising story that will be read over and over again.
Rhyllis Bignell

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