First published in 1941, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, is still a charming story. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard decide to settle in Boston’s Public Garden, but find a more suitable nesting site up the Charles River. When the ducklings are old enough Mrs. Mallard and her children must find their way safely back to the pond in the Public Garden. The warm pencil illustrations make it a great book to snuggle up to before bedtime, when you’re in the mood for a longer story.
If you’re in the mood for a true story that is reminiscent of Make Way for Ducklings, check out Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Mama Duck and her ducklings, Pippin, Bippin, Tippin, Dippin and Little Joe take an excursion to town. When they slip into a storm grate, the local fire department and other town members come to their rescue. The beautiful illustrations alone make this picture book memorable, but Moore’s text also makes for a great read-a-loud. And how can you not love Little Joe?
In The Ugly Duckling, Rachel Isadora transplants Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story to the African continent. This ugly duckling lives in a world of howler monkeys, elephants, hot desert sun and winter ice. A kind farmer helps the duckling survive the winter, and by spring he has grown into a beautiful black swan. Isadora’s vibrant collage illustrations are stunning, and give this much-loved tale fresh energy and an exotic feel.