Saturday, June 4, 2011

Picture Books: Little Quack (by Lauren Thompson)

Little Quack, illustrated by Derek Anderson, is one of the most adorable picture book characters. This series of books, written by Lauren Thompson, is entertaining, educational, and endearing.  Little Quack and Little Quack’s Hide and Seek are among my favorites.  They both illustrated early math skills and invite listener participation.  I HIGHLY recommend this series for ages 2-7.  As an extension idea, follow up reading with a trip to local lake or pond to feed the ducks!  

Little Quack   
Mama Duck has five little ducklings:  Widdle, Waddle, Piddle, Puddle, and Little Quack.  They have lived securely in their nest, but now it is time to leave.   Mama urges them to paddle on the water with her.  The little ducklings squeeze in close.  One by one, they gather the courage to jump.  Each time the following repetitive text is given before the next duckling plunges in: 

“No, Mama, no!” they cried. “We’re too scared!”
“You can do it,” Mama said. “I know you can.” 

There is onomatopoeia to accompany the ducklings as they enter the pond, such as “splish,” “splash,” and “splosh.”  Along the bottom border, a running quack-u-lator tallies how many ducklings are in the pond. The numeral, a picture illustration of the number, and the numeral word are all included.  The final duckling to take the plunge is Little Quack.  As he splishes and splashes in the water, he cries, “I did it…I really did it!”  His Mama replies, “I always knew you could.” This sweet book is perfect for teaching about courage and confidence as well as onomatopoeia, counting to five, numerals, number words, and pond life. 

One day Mama suggests they play hide-and-seek.  Each duckling is confident that Mama Duck won’t be able to find him.  He will find the “best” place of all.  One by one they find a spot to hide as Mama counts to ten.  (The quack-u-lator on the bottom border illustrates the basic subtraction problem.)  As Mama finishes counting,  Little Quack has not found a place to hide yet.  He stealthily swims up behind her as she seeks out her little ducklings.  The repetitive text states each time:

“Any ducklings down there?"  she called.
(Ducklings respond in various ways as they are found.)
“That’s (number) little ducklings found,” said Mama.
“Who will I find next?” 

Little Quack sure is tricky.  After all the other ducklings are found, Mama Duck cannot locate him.  (Children will enjoy “finding” him though.)   Finally, Little Quack jumps out and yells, “Here I am...Right behind you, Mama!”  She responds, “You did find the best hiding place of all!”  The family all laughs at how Little Quack tricked Mama Duck.  Little Quack’s Hide and Seek teaches adding, subtracting, counting, and numeral words.   It also depicts a family playing and laughing together. 

Other Little Quack Books

For babies and toddlers, there are Little Quack Board Books on ABC's, Counting, Bathtime, Colors, and Opposites.

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