Ducks to water by Brett Avison

cover image

Ill. by Janine Dawson. Five Mile Press, 2015. ISBN 9781760066062
(Ages: 2-7) The product of a New Zealand author and Sydney-based illustrator, Ducks to water is the fourth book in the Bigger Digger series (others are Stuck in the muck, Pigs might fly and A bigger digger). The verse is engaging and fun to read aloud. The illustrations are bright and colourful and the rural setting has an Australian farm feel. There was just one thing that bothered me and it is the use of the word 'dumb' to describe the ducklings who think Oscar the dog is their mum. It seems an inappropriate word to use in a picture book for young children, who are usually discouraged from its use. It is a shame as the rest of the rhyming verse is incredibly enjoyable. The narrative itself is fun and fast-paced. Young Bryn and his dog follow the quacks, to find the ducks have no water in their pond. They enlist Ted and Ken to help fix the problem and afterwards they are all, human and ducks, able to enjoy the water. There is also the humourous side story of the ducklings hatching and thinking the dog is their mum, which will amuse young readers to no end! There is a nice pop-up on one of the last pages of the ducklings jumping into the pond. Overall, a rollicking fun story, good for encouraging children to read along with the story, great for exploring rhyme and narrative, and wonderful, comical-style illustrations.
Nicole Nelson