Three Little Ducks
by Shelbie Hughes
Trafford Publishing

"One morning, three little ducks go out to the pond."

And so begins the three little ducks' day of adventure. They swim, play and explore their surroundings as little ducks are known to do. Along the way they meet a red fish and spy a large tree before one of their number gets trapped in the mud. Try as they might, her companions cannot free her and so they entreat the help of a fourth duck who uses his know-how and ducky brawn to rescue the stuck duck and save the day.

Penned by Shelbie Hughes and illustrated by her husband Morgan Hughes, Three Little Ducks offers a charming example of the merits of collaboration. This beginning reader succeeds on all levels. The story itself is simple, yet genuinely engaging. It follows a traditional story arc that draws in young readers through its brief moments of tension and then carries them through to a satisfying resolution. The basic sentence structure is easy to follow and uses familiar words without seeming overly simplified. There is also a pleasing rhythm to the lines that parents will appreciate upon repeated readings.

The accompanying illustrations are striking in their beauty and simplicity. The scenes depicted serve perfectly to augment the story line. Emotion and danger are clearly portrayed through careful and thoughtful artistry. Both the literary and artistic components of this beginning reader are precisely balanced and complement each other in a way that is crucial to the success of early childhood literature. It is clear that both Shelbie and Morgan's backgrounds in elementary school education and animation design respectively contributed to the success of this enchanting collaboration.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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