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Janet Lunn. Illustrated by Kim LaFave.
Toronto, ON: Douglas & McIntyre, 1989.
32pp., cloth, $13.95.
ISBN 0-88899-494-4. A Groundwood Book. CIP.

Subject Heading:

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7

Reviewed by Frances Nokes.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

From the award-winning team of Amos's Sweater (Douglas & McIntyre, 1988) comes another eccentric tale. From the grandmotherly old woman to the clutter of ducks and eggs and people, Kim LaFave's pastel watercolours capture many wonderful and memorable story-telling moments.

It all begins when an old woman moves out to the country. As she sits down to admire the view out the window, she thinks it would be fine to have a duck to swim in the river. The neighbouring farmer offers her not one, but two small ducklings. Well, those two little ducklings become ducks, the ducks lay eggs, the eggs hatch into ducklings, the ducklings become ducks, and so on.

The woman then gathers the eggs so that no more can hatch. Concocting a great variety of baked goods in great number, the woman finds that her kitchen then becomes overrun with more baked goods than she could ever eat, so she decides to sell them off. Finally, her entire home becomes overrun with the throngs of people who show up for tea and duck cakes!

Meanwhile, the ducks continue to reproduce. Throwing her hands up in despair, the woman cries out in frustration, whereupon a couple of old ducks push their way into the house. After looking the company up and down, they turn around, waddle back outside, quack twice, take wing, and fly away! All the other ducks and ducklings do the same. Then, a couple of days later, she finds a chance to sit in her chair and look out the window again. The tale ends with a slight suggestion of trouble as the old woman wonders whether it might be nice to have one red hen . . ..

A modern tale of proliferation and chaotic abundance that is great for fun, pattern life cycles and wonderful ducks!

Frances Nokes, Winnipeg, MB.
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