Children's LiteratureIt is spring at Meadow View Pond and mallard hen patiently sits on her nest of creamy tan eggs. The young ducklings use their egg tooth like a hammer to tap their way out of the shells. They have much to learn as they grow up on the pond, including how to avoid the dangers that lurk there. Their mother uses quick thinking to save them from a snapping turtle and a diving hawk. By September they have grown into their adult plumage and soon, they will migrate south to find mates of their own. Glorious full-color paintings accompany this simple tale of the life cycle of mallard ducks. This is part of the "Smithsonian's Backyard" series that is designed to educate children about the habits of wildlife commonly found in their own backyards. The last page includes facts about the mallard duck, a glossary and points of interest. This would make a wonderful classroom resource for a unit about ponds and pond life. A companion audiocassette and stuffed animal toy is also available. 2001, Soundprints, $15.95. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Cheryl Peterson
School Library JournalPreS-Gr 3-Mallard Duck at Meadow View Pond follows the first season of a newly hatched mallard and his family. From his first swim on the second day of his life and his first meals of water fleas, mayflies and aquatic plants, to his early encounters with hawks and snapping turtles, young mallard matures under the warm spring sun. With the coming of summer, he and his siblings begin to lose their soft brown feathers. As fall approaches, the brood is mature and ready to test their wings. Wendy Pfeffer's descriptive text captures the habitat and clearly explains the development of the ducklings. At times the text is challenging for beginning readers, introducing such terms as clutch, plumage, preen, and iridescent. The luminescent paintings by Taylor Oughton bring the duck's pond world to life. The light and color of the art is beautiful. The accompanying cassette is well narrated and includes realistic sounds that bring alive the duck's world. Many young children are exposed to a plethora of humorous duck tales by the time they reach school, but this realistic story will put them in touch with the natural world of mallard ducks and the wildlife that surrounds them.-Emily Herman, Mary Lin Elementary School, Atlanta, GA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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