The element of surprise is one of the best narrative tools for engaging young readers. One Little Duck uses this device to great effect, setting expectations by using the title and framework of a familiar rhyming song, then breaking the rules at every stanza.
One little duck went out one day, over the hills and far away. Mother Duck said…Moo Moo Moo Moo! and the cow said ‘Wait! Now I’m coming too!’
Each day Mother Duck tries out a new barnyard call, and each night Little Duck returns with a new farm friend. The duck house becomes a welcoming shared space as Mother serves up nightly dinner for the whole gang. Until one night, the gang of friends decide to camp out together. Mother Duck is all alone! Finally she says ‘Quack Quack Quack Quack’ and her precious little duck says ‘Mum, I’m back.’
This is a playful tale of friendship, family and independence with rich read-aloud language including rhyming and animal sounds. The illustrations are clean and evocative, making this useful for new readers who are developing vocabulary by matching words to pictures. As a bonus, this can easily be sung, with actions, to enhance enjoyment and interactivity.