Duck! by Meg McKinlay
Ill. by Nathaniel Eckstrom. Walker Books, 2018, ISBN 9781925381535
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Humour, Farm animals, Word play, Ducks. When the duck comes running across the hills to the other farm animals calling out 'duck' they are all nonplussed. Yes they know he is a duck, and describe his attributes, comparing them to their own. So the horse tells him that he is small and wobbly, while the horse is noble and tall, and just as he is about to continue, the duck calls out 'duck' once again. This time the cow takes up the response, telling the duck that he has cloven hooves whereas the duck has webbed feet, and just as he is about to go on, the duck calls 'duck' again. So the laughter continues with the duck ignoring the advice being given, insisting on saying 'duck' to all the animals he sees, until right at the end the animals realise that it is not his description the duck is calling, but something more sinister.
This hilarious book uses repetition and humour to engage younger readers who will see the attributes of each animal and learn about the animals that live on a farm, while enjoying the humour behind the exasperation of each as they try to teach the duck about what he is. The appealing illustrations give a wonderful flare to the animals and their concern that they are simply not getting through to the duck, and the duck's exasperation with the others as the weather in the background gets wilder. Children will love the joke even more when they read the sign stating where the farm is, and an astute teacher will have "The Wizard of Oz" DVD on hand. Classroom ideas are available.