The Rubber-Legged Ducky

The Rubber-Legged Ducky

5.0 1
by John G. Keller, Henry Cole

One Mama Duck + one swallowed rubber band = One very bouncy ducklingSee more details below

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One Mama Duck + one swallowed rubber band = One very bouncy duckling

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

An ugly duckling of a different feather—one with a rubber leg—turns his deformity into an asset in this quirky and triumphant picture book. Five, the fifth duckling born to Mama Duck (she ate a rubber band before laying her eggs), bounces instead of waddles and says "Bing-boing!" instead of "Quack quack." But steady encouragement from his mother helps Five draw on his unique stretching abilities and outwit a lurking fox. Debut author Keller, the former publisher of Little, Brown's children's division, skillfully balances silliness and heart in a well-paced text that will entertain as well as reassure readers who are discovering what it means to be tolerant and confident. In his signature style, Cole (Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC) creates a cast of creatures with particularly emotive expressions who wrest the humor from Keller's premise ("Five let Three strum on his leg while they sang a duet. 'Thrum, thrum... bing-boing... quack!'"). This peppy outing should prove a welcome addition to the self-esteem-building canon. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)

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Children's Literature
AGERANGE: Ages 3 to 8.

Strange and wonderful things happen when Mama Duck accidentally eats a rubber band. In her next brood--ducklings One, Two, Three, and Four--all say "Quack" when hatched, but Five says "Bing-boing!" He does not waddle; he bounces. Although the other animals tease him, Mama Duck tells him that he can do wonderful things. And he does. When a fox creeps into the barn, Five sounds the warning. While the others run to safety, Five uses his rubber leg to great effect, attacking the fox until the farmer arrives to chase him away. In the double-page scenes of country life, farm animals, and the duck family, ink and transparent acrylics create naturalistic enough animals with clearly human-like expressions and bits of grass and blue sky. The scene of the fox invading the barn is pure melodrama, as is his menacing portrait on the back of the jacket. The underlying moral offers support for those who are different but special. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1- This outsider's tale begins when Mama Duck accidentally chomps down a rubber band while snacking in the field. When it comes time to hatch her new brood, the very last duckling, named Five, bursts out of his shell with a resounding, "Bing-boing!" He's got a rubber leg. Other than a little catty and trite disapproval from a handful of barnyard busybodies, it seems that Five's rubbery appendage brings him mostly advantages. He can jump high to reach juicy berries and tie up a troublemaking pig's snout. But the special duckling really has his day when he confronts a menacing fox that comes to the farm. The bland plot weakens with improbability when, after his family has paddled to safety, Five manages to scare off this formidable, sharp-toothed foe with a mere smack on the nose, albeit with great force and the ever-helpful element of surprise. In the end, readers are left wanting more from this new feathered friend. The acrylic-and-ink illustrations fail to create a compelling or even endearing character in Five, who most often wears a blank, startled expression.-Lauren Anduri, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Thanks to his mother's accidental ingestion of a rubber band, the duckling dubbed "Five" hatches out with one stretchable leg and a "Bing-boing" rather than a "Quack." The other farm animals make fun of him, but Mama assures him that "you are different from the others, but you are my special ducky, and that means you can do special, wonderful things." Indeed, when a fox comes along one night, Five proves his mettle by sounding the alarm and helping to drive the predator off. The plot is a bit thin, but it's impossible not to like such a clever, heroic ducky, and in Cole's pleasant rural scenes Five-sporting a squiggly leg that makes the "disability" theme even more explicit than Mama's comment-is joined by expressive, cleanly drawn sibs and other livestock. All in all, this is closer in spirit and audience appeal to Jane Simmons's Daisy tales than the classic "Ugly Duckling." (Picture book. 5-7)

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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