Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Illustrator: Matthew B.
Author: Renee Heiss
“So Mama duck just smiled and said, ‘I see you need some rest. Arrange yourselves from one to ten, then we can find our nest,’” author Renee Heiss writes in her children’s book, Ducklings in a Row.
At thirty-five pages, this over-sized hardbound book caters to young children ages four to nine who are learning number sequencing along with personality skills. With no profanity or scary scenes, the book is ideal for quiet time or bed time story reading. Illustrator Matthew B. Holcomb has large drawings that cover two pages at time, done artistically with colored pencils and ink that have been adapted via the computer on to brightly colored backgrounds. The end of the book has a helpful teacher’s guide, critical thinking questions for older children, related concepts for discussion, vocabulary words and further learning websites. There are also author and illustrator biographies and photographs with a paragraph how the drawings were created.
This simplistic tome is about a mother duck and her ten ducklings who are tired of swimming and she tells them to line up in numerical order so they can go home to their nest to sleep. Number Ten duckling quickly runs and gets in line first so he can lead them all home. However, number One rudely explains to number Ten that he is not the first, but the last duck and cuts in front of him. Ten patiently has to step back time and time again as the other duckings file in line in front of him.
With a short rhyme to each page, each duckling’s own personality stands out as the ducks line up in proper, numerical order. Number Three and Four look like twins but have their own individual behavior. Duck Five is insecure while number Six is unsure. Pushing into her place in line, aggressive number Eight is different than the assertive number Seven. When they are all lined up, patient number Ten asks his mother why he is always at the end of the line. The mother has them all turn around and, since number Ten is closest to walk to their nest, the switch makes him first in line.With the creative numbers imbedded on each of the ducklings’ faces, a young child can tell them apart in the story as he or she is read to or reading along. The book not only teaches the order of numbers but that having the personality of patience sometimes pays off. It is a quick, fun read that any young child will enjoy over and over.