mamas little duckling cover

Dutton Children’s Books ISBN 978-0-525-47950-5 Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka.

Dandelion Duckling is ready to explore . . . all by himself. Soon he’s paddling across the pond to visit with his friends—Dragonfly, Little Polliwog, and the Centipedes. Mama is watching closely, though, and when she sees danger, she sounds the warning: QUACK! QUACK! QUACK! and Dandelion scoots right back. But one day not even Mama sees the weasel waiting in the willows. Can Dandelion remember what Mama Quack had taught him this time, before it’s too late?

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“Dandelion Duckling loved his Mama Quack. And Dandelion’s Mama completely loved him back.” … The text is lyrical, cleverly using repetitive phrases and rhyming words without actually adhering to a strict poetic structure. Glowing with bold shades of turquoise, orange, gold, and green, the oversize illustrations vibrantly depict the ducks and pond animals–both Dandelion’s friends (Dragonfly, Little Polliwog, and the Centipedes) and enemies (a large pike, a hawk, and the weasel). Although there are many duck stories available, this one is a standout. The bright-hued artwork and rhythmic text make it a wonderful choice for toddlers and preschoolers, as well as a perfect storytime selection.” —SLJ

“This tender tale deals with a milestone every family faces: finding a balance between a child’s budding independence and a parent’s need for security… Wohnoutka’s brightly colored acrylics feature large, up-close views of the characters, making this perfect for sharing with groups. Both Dandelion’s exuberance and Mom’s reluctance are clearly painted on their faces, and the two plainly exude love for one another. A delightful addition to any preschool or toddler collection.” —Kirkus

“Mama Quack isn’t crazy about her adorable Dandelion Duckling’s desire to explore his world: “There is danger in the water, danger in the air, danger on the shore, danger everywhere!” … So like any good parents, she lets him taste independence in small doses, always hovering nearby in case he needs to escape a predator. But when Mama gets distracted by some tasty centipedes, it’s Dandelion’s chance to sound the alarm. Wohnoutka’s saturated, pastel-like paintings immediately draw in the audience—his full-bleed compositions, feel for action and exuberant characterizations bring to mind the golden age of animation. Better still, he situates readers exactly at the center of the action: for example, in some scenes he sets the surface of the pond as a sight line, forcing viewers along with Dandelion to look up to the mother duck; in another scene, he shows the pond almost as if it were an aquarium, with Dandelion’s submerged head fully visible as he blows bubbles underwater, his tail feathers bobbing, blithely oblivious to the hawk swooping toward him. Wohnoutka’s art invites readers into the protagonist’s role, where they can absorb his growing competence.” —Publishers Weekly



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