Just Ducks!

( 1 )

Overview

A young girl shares her observations about the mallards near her house in an engaging, informative story sure to make a splash with duck lovers.

Quack quack, Quack-quaack-quack.
It’s the first sound I hear every morning.

The young girl in this story may live in the city, but outside her window there’s a river full of mallard ducks! She hears them as soon as she wakes up, and...

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Overview

A young girl shares her observations about the mallards near her house in an engaging, informative story sure to make a splash with duck lovers.

Quack quack, Quack-quaack-quack.
It’s the first sound I hear every morning.

The young girl in this story may live in the city, but outside her window there’s a river full of mallard ducks! She hears them as soon as she wakes up, and on the way to school she sees them upside down bobbing for food. Interspersed with fun facts, her enthusiastic commentary about her feathered neighbors — what they look like, how they behave, where they nest, where they sleep — pairs swimmingly with cheerful watercolor illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Pamela Paul
Davies…deftly tucks a range of duck facts into the sweet story of a girl who lives near a river filled with ducks…the tableaus [Rubbino] paints…have…acuity and panache.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
While there’s much to be said for interactive, hands-on learning, Davies’s (Talk, Talk, Squawk) young narrator builds an impressive body of knowledge about ducks simply by watching the birds that live on and around the river that runs through her town. She knows about their eating habits (there’s “dabbling” and “upending”), their wooing and parenting (“I like it when a drake shows off his handsome feathers to the ducks, trying to get one to be his girlfriend”), even how they sleep—or not (“one night at choir practice, we heard them quacking softly outside the window as they ate worms off the lawn in the dark!”). The text, set in a beautiful typeface that recalls rippling water, is pitch-perfect throughout, enthusiastic and confident, knowing without becoming precocious (the girl’s commentary is amplified with factual nuggets set in small type). Rubbino’s (A Walk in London) watercolors, which range from closeup portraits to gorgeous waterscapes, combine a sketchbook immediacy and economy with an appreciation for the ducks’ streamlined shape, handsome coloration, and placid and genial demeanor. Positively ducky all around. Ages 5–up. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Davies’s young narrator builds an impressive body of knowledge about ducks simply by watching the birds that live on and around the river that runs through her town...The text, set in a beautiful typeface that recalls rippling water, is pitch-perfect throughout, enthusiastic and confident, knowing without becoming precocious. Rubbino’s watercolors combine a sketchbook immediacy and economy with an appreciation for the ducks’ streamlined shape, handsome coloration, and placid and genial demeanor. Positively ducky all around.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The daily activities of a young girl propel the easy-flowing language full of ducky details. Perfectly placed additional facts in smaller and similar-in-tone text are included on each spread...While Davies’ text gently informs, Rubbino’s mixed-media illustrations, done in a subdued palette of watery greens, grays and browns, truly impress... An ideal introduction to this familiar waterfowl—readers will enjoy diving right in.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A charming and informative tribute to the ubiquitous duck... The mixed-media artwork adds a sweet, old-fashioned character to the story. Created in a palette of greens and browns, the illustrations reflect the peaceful setting of the natural habitat in which these birds live. Like Robert McCloskey’s MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS (Viking, 1941), this gentle picture book celebrates the wonder and awe nature can inspire in everyday life.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

The easy-going, colloquial tone of the text makes the information surprisingly easy to absorb... Rubbino’s watercolor paintings have a wonderful freshness and spontaneity about them, capturing the look and body language of ducks, while including details of physiology mentioned in the story. Beautiful, informative, and fine for reading aloud.
—Booklist (starred review)

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our young narrator hears the quacking of ducks first thing every morning as they gather on the river. She sees them swimming and eating as she crosses the bridge to school. On the way home, she and her mother feed the ever-hungry mallards. She watches the drakes show off. In the spring, the ducks are busy nesting, sometimes in strange places. Now it's cold and getting dark, so the ducks are finding safe places for the night. But she knows she will hear them again in the morning, from down on the river. On the jacket Rubbino shows us the river setting with the bridge, buildings, and ducks. Mixed media produce suggestive objects, but the images are naturalistic enough to offer attractive groups of ducks in various animated poses, acting out the text's informative prose. The swiftly moving text is set in a large typeface, with additional factual paragraphs in a smaller typeface. An index and additional facts are included. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—In this charming and informative tribute to the ubiquitous duck, a small girl is fascinated by the noisy birds. Every morning, she is serenaded by the ducks "down on the river that flows through the town." She keeps an eye on the mallards as she gets ready for school and eats her breakfast. "The ducks take forever to eat theirs." Crossing the bridge to go to school, she watches them dabbling and upending as they search for food. In the afternoon, she stops to visit them with her mother. The girl explains how the ducks find their mates and build their nests. As she closes her curtains at bedtime, the bridge is quiet, but she knows that when she wakes, she'll be greeted by the quacking of the "ducks—just ducks, down on the river that flows through the town." The first-person narrative is accompanied by brief paragraphs of interesting facts. These asides are printed in a smaller font and are itemized in an index at the end. The mixed-media artwork adds a sweet, old-fashioned character to the story. Created in a palette of greens and browns, the illustrations reflect the peaceful setting of the natural habitat in which these birds live. Like Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings (Viking, 1941), this gentle picture book celebrates the wonder and awe nature can inspire in everyday life.—Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Mallard ducks catch the attention of an observant young narrator. Join in on her day's travels to learn a lot about these quacking creatures. Quacks appear in graduated type from large to small to begin this informational gem. The daily activities of a young girl propel the easy-flowing language full of ducky details. Perfectly placed additional facts in smaller and similar-in-tone text are included on each spread. These seamless complements serve to explain unfamiliar terms such as "preening," "dabbling" and "upending." While Davies' text gently informs, Rubbino's mixed-media illustrations, done in a subdued palette of watery greens, grays and browns, truly impress. Mama ducks, drakes and ducklings alike hold the focus as they nest, search for food, swim, splash and sleep. The loose and childlike pictures capture essential details: the "secret patch of blue on each wing" and the "cute little curl on their tails." At the end of the day (and book), readers find "The bridge is quiet, and there's just the sound of rushing water and the stillness of the night." But the page turn reveals another morning of "ducks--just ducks, down on the river that flows through the town." An ideal introduction to this familiar waterfowl--readers will enjoy diving right in. (index, note) (Informational picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781406327397
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 3/28/2012

Meet the Author

Nicola Davies is a zoologist and the award-winning author of many books for children, including Surprising Sharks, illustrated by James Croft; Ice Bear: In the Steps of the Polar Bear, illustrated by Gary Blyth; and White Owl, Barn Owl, illustrated by Michael Foreman. Nicola Davies lives in Wales.

Salvatore Rubbino is the author-illustrator of A Walk in New York and A Walk in London, the latter of which is an ode to his home city.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Everything is just ducky

    Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino This is a delightful picture book featuring Mallard ducks as they quack their way through the day with a little girl who awakens to their quacks. This isn't really about the little girl - she is simply the witness of everything Just ducks! The reader will learn why some ducks have louder quacks and how to tell a boy duck from a girl duck. This is a "nature storybook" in that it tells a story but it has also informative bits about ducks throughout the book - factual information. The story plot is in larger font than the bits of facts which are tucked into the sides and corners of the book's pages. After the little girl goes through her day from waking with the ducks, feeding them, and seeing them settle down for the night (as she does the same), we realize we have learned quite a lot about Just ducks! I think this book can be best understood by children - boys or girls - ages 4 through 7. However, even younger children can begin to enjoy duck's quacks and adventures through the day as they, too, quack with the ducks. I found the book interesting, informative, and appealing to the eyes in subdued colors complimentary to the coloration of the Mallard ducks themselves - greens, greys, browns. The illustrations are "childlike" without a lot of structure but very appealing and sweet. I found the gentle nudging of factual information appealing and believe it presents a wonderful learning opportunity for the young child. I recommend this to anyone desiring to read to children or to the young reader themselves - especially if they like Just Ducks! Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary copy of Just Ducks by the publisher Candlewick Press in exchange for my honest review.

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