Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft"Meet the Duck!" This "Farm Animals" series has a distinctly personal and almost nostalgic aura: animals and small farms shown are clean and neat, some buildings are of stone, family members are workingit's definitely not agribusiness! In each volume, ample pages bordered in a design of that animal's footprints offer engaging color photographs like one here of fuzzy ducks and a rooster in Hong Kong. Ten sections present topics ranging from descriptions of breeds and types through feeding, training, and caring for the animals to life cycles and history. Duck breeds include mallards, Pekins, and Mandarins; readers will learn that all domestic ducks derive from the mallard, first known in Eurasia. A two-page spread illustrates duck features: feathers, feet, eyes, and bill. Caring for ducks requires special attention to keep the birds clean (though ducks preen themselves) and prevent excessive quacking. Future farmers and city kids will be interested to discover that ducks in folklore include a Cherokee duck legend and a golden duck in Poland; a short retelling introduces readers to the tale of a greedy duck hunter and the Bird Spirit. For inquiring minds, a short quiz and two recommended books point to further research, while a "Frequently Asked Questions" section answers queries like "Will farm ducks fly away?" Unusual for the variety of information presented, the freshness of its graphic appeal, and recognition of the antiquity and traditions of animal husbandry, this series is an exceptional value for its reasonable price.
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