Surprise Familyby Lynn W. Reiser
A baby chicken accepts a young boy as her mother and later becomes a surrogate mother for some ducklings that she has hatched.
Children's Literature - Jeanne K. PettenatiThe members of the family in this sweet story are a boy, a chicken and the five ducklings that she has lovingly hatched. Although they come together by happenstance, their love for each other grows ever stronger with time. The chicken meets her boy when she cracks out of her egg. The boy nurtures the chicken until she is ready for some babies to love. The boy then finds some eggs and brings them to the chicken. When the differences between family members (i.e., ducks love the water and chickens cannot swim) become apparent, they are accepted. They do not tear the family apart. The key to a successful family is the love and concern that members demonstrate for each other. This is the important message of the story. The book has meaning for all families, but may be particularly relevant for adoptive or non-traditional families.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalK-Gr 3-A delightful story about a chick who is raised by a boy. He ``...was not the kind of mother the chick had expected, but she loved him anyway.'' When she is fully grown, she hatches a clutch of abandoned eggs and unknowingly mothers five ducklings. She is shocked when her children insist on going for a swim, but when they come back to her and she inspects them more closely, she realizes that ``Ducklings were not the kind of family she had expected, but she loved them anyway.'' This tender tale will please families everywhere. The subtle messages of love, expectation, and parental roles will appeal to adoptive and extended families as well. The nurturing boy is a refreshing, albeit minor, character. The clean, simple, cartoonlike watercolors are placed in appealing juxtaposition to the text. Some illustrations are boxed into squares and rectangles, while on other pages the drawings are freely strewn across a clean white background. This warm, caring book should find a place on the shelf next to P.D. Eastman's Are You My Mother? (Random, 1986) and Keiko Kasza's A Mother for Choco (Putnam, 1992). A pleasant story-hour offering.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY
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