by Phyllis Root; illus. by Jane Chapman
40 pages; ages 2-5
Candlewick Press, 1998
theme: working together; helping others
opening lines: Down by the marsh, by the sleepy, slimy marsh, one duck gets stuck in the muck, down by the deep green marsh. Help! Help! Who can help?
Different animals show up to help: two fish, three moose..... all the way up to ten dragonflies. Each group tries and tries to pull the duck out, but the duck stays stuck! Until they decide to work together. Which is my favorite spread in the book:
Beyond the book: This book features such wonderful language, so why not play with words? Go on a Verb hunt. Verbs are "action words", and Phyllis Root finds - or makes up - the perfect words to show how each animal moves in the marsh. Write down words that show how animals in your neighborhood move about. If you can't find the right word in a dictionary or thesaurus, make one up! Phyllis did.
Visit a park or marsh or some other place, and sit for awhile. Observe what's there, how it sounds, smells, feels. Then come up with a list of words to describe the place. In the book, the marsh is described as swampy, croaky, sticky.... What words can you find - or make up - to describe your place?
Pick up a pencil and draw. Jane Chapman has fun drawing all the creatures that come to help duck. So when you're out at your marsh (or park or pond) - draw some of the creatures you see. They don't have to look perfect - or even real. And if you want some tips on drawing - or painting- critters, check out Jane's activity page at her website.
Today is PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) over at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy from my local library.