A family of ducks enjoys a country outing—with a sweet surprise.
After frolicking in a pretty blue pond surrounded by colorful flowers, Mama and Papa Duck and their 10 ducklings set out on a bucolic stroll. The 10th duckling in line stops to greet Frog, and now there are nine. The ninth duckling stops to greet Mouse, and now there are eight. Greetings to Squirrel, Rabbit, Cat, Dog, Pig, Sheep, Owl, and another duckling follow, and finally the number of little ducks in line dwindles to none. Mama and Papa finally notice with alarm. But not to worry. The ducklings reform their row with all their newfound friends and a quacking addition. Now there are 11 ducklings, and the duck family ends up back in the pond surrounded by a very noisy menagerie. Little listeners can have fun counting along and making all the different animal sounds. Lobel’s pastel-hued illustrations are bright and cheerful. They have a folk-art feel that’s reinforced by flat perspectives and gently stylized trees with perfectly spherical crowns; the rolling hills in many backgrounds recall Wanda Gág’s or Virginia Lee Burton’s work. The text does not include numerals, but the number words are flagged in colored type, and the fuzzy yellow ducklings are easy to count. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.3-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 31.5% of actual size.)
Feathery fun for little ones. (Picture book. 2-4)
– Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2020
Ten little ducks are walking down the road, following Mama and Papa Duck. The last duckling stops to greet a new friend, “Hello Frog!” and stays to talk. Now nine little ducks are walking down the road, and one by one, their number continues to dwindle. Initially oblivious, Mama and Papa finally realize that their ducklings are missing and hurry back to find them. Counting their young, they realize that they now have 11, as one of the new friends is a duckling. The ducks all quack and swim in a tiny pond, surrounded by the nine other animals, making their own distinctive sounds. The nicely cadenced story reads aloud beautifully and offers many opportunities for kids to chime in by naming each animal the little ducks meet, by counting the number of ducklings at various points along the way, and by imitating the sounds that their new friends make. Created with rounded lines, gentle colors, and a profusion of flowers, Lobel’s sunny gouache-and-colored-pencil illustrations brighten every page. An inviting picture book, well designed for young children.
– Booklist, December 1, 2020
Mama and Papa Duck are walking down a country road lined with flowers, with their ten little ducklings following behind them—but there aren’t ten for long. “The tenth little duck in line turned back to quack, ‘Hello, Frog!’” Mama and Papa Duck continue to lead the way, breaking out of the frame of the picture, oblivious to their missing baby. They don’t notice when the ninth duckling stops off by an apple tree to say, “Hello, Mouse!” or when the eighth duckling stops to greet a squirrel. Lobel uses gouache, colored pencil, and felt-tip pen in cheery shades of orange and yellow, with a pale blue sky, and her animals are realistic, not cartoonish. She varies the foliage, giving each greeted creature a different type of tree or flower to sit under, and she keeps the landscape interesting with the addition of a fence or curves in the road, which stretches off into the distance. Each of the ten ducklings finds someone to say hello to, including a cat, a dog, a sheep, an owl, and even another duckling. The story’s roots may be in the somewhat ominous old children’s song “Five Little Ducks,” but Lobel keeps the feeling warm, safe, and cozy. In addition to counting the ducklings, children will enjoy making the animal sounds on the final page, with all ten ducklings—plus one—back home in their pond, surrounded by their new animal friends. Even very young children can “read” this book on their own once they know the basic story, but it will also be a great choice for toddler storytime.
– Horn Book Magazine, May/June 2021