The first line draws readers’ attention to the “hollow of a tree, higher than the eye can see…” where a mother wood duck waits for her 10 ducklings to hatch. The excitement builds as the last one finally emerges from the smallest egg. “Mama glides to the ground below, into the pond” and counts as each of her offspring jumps, flops, flaps, and dives, following her lead. Scared Duckling Ten needs some extra coaching to overcome his fear of leaping. When he succeeds, he is congratulated by his siblings as they paddle about in their new home. The rhyming, counting, and repetition of “peep” make this ideal for sharing aloud. Lively watercolor and colored pencil illustrations are done in warm browns, blues, and greens, and generous white space accentuates the drama of each bold leap. An author’s note that explains why this family happened to be in a tree in the first place is a welcome addition and will no doubt appeal to young naturalists. Readers will appreciate the lesson about bravery and encouragement.
– Jenna Boles, Greene County Public Library, OH for School Library Journal