Saturday, July 26, 2008

One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root

As indicated in the title, one duck is indeed stuck. In the muck. Down by the deep green marsh. (Those webbed feet are great for paddling but apparently they create quite a vacuum when submerged in the sleepy, slimy marsh.)

“Help! Help! Who can help?” asks the narrator.

“We can! We can!” responds a chorus of swampy helpers.

Two fish swim to help, followed by three moose and four crickets. After them come snakes and snails and killer whales…oh wait, not the killer whales. But there are snakes and snails and numerous other helpers. Some big, some small. Some fly, some crawl. Some slither, some hop. But all are willing to help.

Unfortunately each time the result is the same: “No luck. The duck stays stuck.”

Bold pictures clearly illustrate each of the helpers. The number of helpers increases with each creature until finally, after the ten dragonflies fail by themselves, all of the creatures team up to help the duck together. “Spluck!”

“‘Thanks,’ said the duck who got out of the muck down by the deep green marsh.”

Kids quickly figure out the correct response to the plea for help (“We can! We can!) and the unfortunate result (“No luck. The duck stays stuck.”). One Duck Stuck keeps kids from staying passive listeners and makes them into active readers.

Have fun counting each of the animals. Of course the illustrations match the number of animals that come to help, and both words and numbers are given. When all the animals team up at the end, see if young readers can locate and count all fifty-four helpers. Listen carefully to the arrival of each animal, too. Their activity rhymes with their name, “Seven snails making slippery trails,” for example.

Just be careful where you walk when you’re done reading or you may end up like the moose…

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