September 23, 2016
Five Little Ducks, a retelling of the traditional children’s song, would appeal to students in pre-K–grade 2. Designed for classroom use, it includes many teacher features, such as guided reading activities, a glossary, and a list of other books about ducks. The book comes with both a CD and an easy-to-scan QR code that takes you to the Cantata Learning site, where a quick click enables streaming or a download of the song as an MP3. The music is about six minutes long, repeating the song twice. The tune is catchy; having children’s voices in the song encourages youngsters to sing along. Those I shared the story with enjoyed the illustrations and the music.
The story begins with the invitation to “count backward from five as Mama Duck calls out for her ducklings to come home.” The clear, peaceful, pastel illustrations provide an easy reference for children to count the returning ducks.
Mathematically, I wish the story used “zero” instead of “no” ducks at the end of the song, but this song/story keeps with tradition. It does end the story with a question, “I wonder if any of our ducks will come waddling back?” which would make a good story starter for students to begin their own Little Duck story.
I recommend this book for pre-K or kindergarten teachers who are looking for a story to practice counting back.
—Amy Henderson, Harrisonburg City Schools, Virginia.
Read the review in the October 2016 print edition of Teaching Children Mathematics, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of Math.
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