Ducks away by Mem Fox

cover image

Ill. by Judy Horacek. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781760158514
(Age: 2-5) Highly recommended. Ducks away is a delightful new picture book created by celebrated children's author Mem Fox and Judy Horacek a popular children's illustrator and cartoonist.
Mem Fox has adapted the lyrics of the popular children's song Five Little Ducks and the five little ducks and mother duck are off on a new adventure. One by one, the ducklings follow their mother across a bridge in single file. Just as the last duck hurries to join the family, a gust of wind blows it into the river below. What a dilemma should Mother Duck stay on the bridge or fly down and rescue the one below? Of course the ducklings all jump off the bridge one at a time with encouragement from her and Mother Duck joins her family in the river.
Mem Fox predictive rhyming text is a pleasure to to read aloud, she builds the excitement and drama as one by one the ducklings appear on the bridge and then jump into the water. There are questions to answer, comments to respond to, fun alliterative text and an encouraging ending. Judy Horacek's simple, bold illustrations bring the story alive, against the white backgrounds the grey stone bridge and deep blue river stand out. The yellow ducklings' heads mirror their mother's they look up, back and down, a great way to introduce directional and positional sight words.
Ducks away is just right for sharing over and over again, with a young family, in a preschool or kindergarten. With an easy-to-read font and emphasized words written in red and Mother Duck's repeated refrain, this book is a great start to encourage reading. One of Mem Fox's reading commandments states, 'Read at least three stories a day: it may be the same story three times. Children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn.'
Rhyllis Bignell