• Happy birthday Ilse-Margret Vogel (Bad Times, Good Friends), Franklyn M. Branley (Down Comes the Rain), Alice Low (The Witch Who Was Afraid of Witches), Irene Haas (A Summertime Song), Allan Ahlberg (Each Peach Pear Plum), Louise Lawrence (Dream-Weaver) and Caroline Binch (Amazing Grace).
  • It’s the birth date of Richard Scarry (1919-1994), Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go.
  • On this day in 1851, Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery serial, Uncle Tom's Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly starts a ten-month run in the National Era abolitionist newspaper. Read Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers by Jean Fritz.

At the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam on June 5, they acknowledge Dead Duck Day and discuss ways to prevent these winged city dwellers from colliding into windows. I, however, don’t like to use Almanac pages to feature dead ducks or dead dogs. But our book of the day, Eva Moore’s Lucky Ducklings, does explore the dangers to ducks that can be found in civilization.

When Pippin, Bippin, Tippin, Dippin, Little Joe, and Mama Duck set out for a stroll around the town, they find good things to eat. But as the ducklings walk over the storm drain, all fall in. The town swings into action. Fireman rush to the rescue, and finally a pickup truck driver figures out how to remove the grate, and the ducklings get returned to Mama. Based on a true story that occurred in June 2000 on Long Island, the book notes that after the incident, the storm drains of the town were replaced to make them duckling safe.

The text, with just the right arc of a story for a picture book, has been made sublime by the artwork of Nancy Carpenter. She creates personalities for all the ducklings and develops a story for Little Joe not found in the text.  In silhouette or in full-color, her beguiling ducks steal readers’ hearts, and everyone cheers for their ultimate triumph. I love this book because it is a true picture book, with the perfect balance of art and text and pictures that embellish the story line.

Published this spring, Lucky Ducklings has already become a story hour staple, naturally conjuring up McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings. But Christine McDonnell, librarian of the Edward Devotion School in Brookline, Massachusetts, suggested to me an even better book pairing: Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies and Salvatore Rubbino. This book combines a story about ducks with information about them in smaller print on each page. On the first double-page spread readers learn that the male duck quacks quietly, the female loudly. Who knew? I was hooked immediately, and so are young readers as they find out fascinating bits of information while reading a poetic text. Rubbino’s artwork pulls readers into the page and can be appreciated for its subtle color and energetic composition.

Both books combine fiction and nonfiction in a single title. For those hunting for titles to compare and contrast, these two books make excellent choices. They also explore natural science and ecology in the city.

So today I am going to celebrate Living Duck Day and head out to see some!

Here’s a page from Lucky Ducklings:

Lucky Ducklings image


Originally posted June 5, 2013. Updated for .

Tags: Animals, Ducks, True Story
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Lucky Ducklings


  1. Alicia says:

    We just read Lucky Ducklings and it is wonderful. The spare text makes it friendly for very young children — I think Make Way for Ducklings was a little wordy for my 2 year old. Thanks for the recommendation for Just Ducks, it sounds like the next one we need to investigate.

  2. Star says:

    This looks so cute! I will definitely look for this at the library this summer! My girls love books that are based on real events!

  3. Diane says:

    Thanks for highlighting this wonderful “duckling ” story. This book is one of the Virginia Reader’s Choice for 2014-2015 primary selections. I will be a new elementary school librarian in the fall and can’t wait to use this book with “Just Ducks”. I love Make Way for ducklings but “Just Ducks” might be a better pairing.

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