One little duck by Katrina Germein & Danny Snell

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Each time Mother Duck goes to call her wandering duckling back home, she uses a different barnyard call, resulting in an array of farm animals sitting at her table. When she forgets her quack, she calls out a moo and the duckling returns with a cow. The next night she calls out bow wow and a dog is added to the group. A cluck cluck next time results in a chicken sitting at the table.

A nod to the well known Five little ducks, We’re going on a bear hunt and I went walking, sees the duckling building up a friendship group consisting of a cow, dog, chook, donkey, lamb and piglet to go walking with, each time getting a little further away from home. One day they go off together and stay out all night, Mother Duck eventually finding her quack and calling the duckling home.

Danny Snell’s lovely illustrations provoke lots of laughter as the animals sit together at the kitchen table, watching Mother Duck cook them a meal in her little house. Each additional mouth to feed sees an increase in her bag of groceries while the cooking pot grows, and the number of plates and cups escalates. The cow and donkey sitting like humans will cause lots of smiles, as will the slope of the bench when the cow sits down. Their wanderings during the day, to the fields, through the hay, over the bridge, ignoring the rain, to the beach, to the fields of flowers and finally staying out all night camping in their tent, will entreat the readers as they peruse all the details of rambling far from home, enjoying the companionship of the group of animals as they wander together, knowing that Mother Duck is there waiting for the duckling to return.

Readers will love counting along with the text, ticking off each of the animals encountered on each page, predicting the new line and what the animal might be when Mother Duck calls. One little duck is a wonderfully interactive read, begging to be read aloud and acted out.

Themes: Animals, Camping, Hiking, Farmyard, Home, Humour.

Fran Knight