Duck duck moose by Lucinda Gifford

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760634704.
(Age: 3+) Games, Animals, Repetition. Paralleling the game, 'Duck duck goose', this picture book for younger readers will have them all joining in as they read, singing along with the simple text, predicting what comes next as they follow the antics of the three main animals shown.
The game, 'Duck duck goose' has children sitting in a circle with one child outside the circle. That child goes around the circle, crying out 'duck, duck', until a hand is placed on another's shoulder with the words 'goose'. The person so nominated then chases the other person, changing places to do the same thing. In this take on the old game, the chorus is 'duck duck moose', with a moose and a pair of ducks eyeing each other off over the snow. Moose would very much like to be acquainted with the two ducks, but all they do is run off as he approaches.
The eyes and size of font gives clues to the readers about what each animal is feeling. The wide eyed ducks taking fright as the moose approaches, and their warning of moose is writ large.
The playful font reflects the state of the animals as the moose tries to befriend the ducks, the ducks run away and the newly arrived goose remains to be more acquainted with the moose. The playfulness is reflected in the illustrations, styled to look like children's drawings, with easily understood, clear text.
Within the pages a catalogue of the moose's attempts at friendship is given, eyeing them across the snow, coming up closer in the pond, coming across the snow, with the ducks being standoffish, haughty and scared in turn. But not so the goose, and the story ends with the ducks alone watching the friendship between the goose and the moose blossom.
A clear lesson for all those meeting new people and developing friendships, this will be the basis for many discussions with younger readers. Teacher's tips are available.
Fran Knight