School Library Journal
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Gr 1-3-In this charming and informative tribute to the ubiquitous duck, a small girl is fascinated by the noisy birds. Every morning, she is serenaded by the ducks "down on the river that flows through the town." She keeps an eye on the mallards as she gets ready for school and eats her breakfast. "The ducks take forever to eat theirs." Crossing the bridge to go to school, she watches them dabbling and upending as they search for food. In the afternoon, she stops to visit them with her mother. The girl explains how the ducks find their mates and build their nests. As she closes her curtains at bedtime, the bridge is quiet, but she knows that when she wakes, she'll be greeted by the quacking of the "ducks-just ducks, down on the river that flows through the town." The first-person narrative is accompanied by brief paragraphs of interesting facts. These asides are printed in a smaller font and are itemized in an index at the end. The mixed-media artwork adds a sweet, old-fashioned character to the story. Created in a palette of greens and browns, the illustrations reflect the peaceful setting of the natural habitat in which these birds live. Like Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings (Viking, 1941), this gentle picture book celebrates the wonder and awe nature can inspire in everyday life.-Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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While there's much to be said for interactive, hands-on learning, Davies's (Talk, Talk, Squawk) young narrator builds an impressive body of knowledge about ducks simply by watching the birds that live on and around the river that runs through her town. She knows about their eating habits (there's "dabbling" and "upending"), their wooing and parenting ("I like it when a drake shows off his handsome feathers to the ducks, trying to get one to be his girlfriend"), even how they sleep-or not ("one night at choir practice, we heard them quacking softly outside the window as they ate worms off the lawn in the dark!"). The text, set in a beautiful typeface that recalls rippling water, is pitch-perfect throughout, enthusiastic and confident, knowing without becoming precocious (the girl's commentary is amplified with factual nuggets set in small type). Rubbino's (A Walk in London) watercolors, which range from closeup portraits to gorgeous waterscapes, combine a sketchbook immediacy and economy with an appreciation for the ducks' streamlined shape, handsome coloration, and placid and genial demeanor. Positively ducky all around. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Davies, a zoologist, seamlessly combines elements of fiction and nonfiction in this amiable picture book, in which a young girl tells about the mallard ducks living nearby. Each morning, she awakens to their increasingly loud quacking. As she crosses the bridge to school, she sees them swimming, dabbling for tidbits on water's surface, and upending to reach food underwater. On her way home in winter, she stops to feed them pieces of bread. In addition to explaining what the ducks do at night, she touches on mating rituals, nesting, and how, in the spring, baby ducklings are hatched and led to the nearby river. The easygoing, colloquial tone of the text makes the information surprisingly easy to absorb. In addition to the main, large-print narrative, many pages include a line or two of information in small print, which could be read or ignored, depending on the age and interest of the child. Although the comment on preening could use a little more explanation, the others are clear and often vivid. Rubbino's watercolor paintings have a wonderful freshness and spontaneity about them, capturing the look and body language of ducks while including details of physiology mentioned in the story. Beautiful, informative, and fine for reading aloud.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist