10 Little Rubber Ducks fall overboard and land on shores all around the world. Inspired by the true story of these ducks at sea, Eric Carle has imagined their voyage in the wide open waters and the creatures they meet who live in and around the ocean.
STARRED REVIEW *“Carle takes an actual incident, when numerous bathtub toys fell off a container ship and floated to various places, and distills it to create a marvelous counting/concept adventure. The story opens at a factory where assembly-line workers are painting details onto bright yellow rubber ducks. The toys are then loaded onto a freighter destined for faraway countries. During a storm, 10 rubber ducks fall into the sea. Each one floats in a different direction—west, east, north, south, left, right, up, down, this way, and that way, – and encounters a different animal (a dolphin, seal, polar bear, etc.). The 10th one meets a mother duck with her offspring and bobs along with them to their nest. The ducks all bid “Good night” to one another with a “Quack,” while the newcomer says “Squeak!” (Children can press the page to hear a squeak.) Carle’s signature cut-paper collages burst with color, texture, light, and motion, delighting the eye and bringing out the text’s nuances. The ordinal numbers are shown in bold type that stands out from the narrative. More accessible to younger readers than Eve Bunting’s Ducky (Clarion, 1997), this book makes a wonderful read-aloud for storytimes or one-on-one sharing. It’s a definite 10.”
– School Library Journal, January, 2005
“Ten rubber ducks are packed in a box and tied to a boat. A storm blows up on their trip across the ocean, spills them out, and they drift in different directions. One encounters a dolphin, another meets up with a seal, and so on. The tenth rubber toy runs into a family of wild ducks and they all nestle down under a friendly moon. Laura Ingalls Wilder Award-recipient and perennial favorite Carle revisits the counting-book format with his unmistakable blocky, painted collages. All of his well-known components are present: a list of animals-many of them recognizable from earlier works-repeated words and phrases, bright friendly art on lots of white background, and a noisemaker at the end. He offers his take on the 1992 news story that inspired Eve Bunting and David Wisniewski to create Ducky (1997). While not Carle’s best work, it still has those saturated colors that have such appeal. Audiences of one or many will enjoy it, especially if they get to press the duck and make him squeak. (Picture book 2-5)”
– Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2005
“Inspired by a 2003 newspaper story about a shipment of yellow rubber ducks that fell overboard from a container ship, this winsome story pairs Carle’s (Mister Seahorse) characteristically jewel-toned collage art with a breezy text whose intermittent repetition lends it a song-like cadence. After little yellow rubber ducks pop out of “the rubber duck machine,” their beaks and eyes receive dabs of paint, and the toys are packed 10 to a box and loaded onto a cargo ship. When a wave washes one box into the sea, its contents fall out (“10 ducks overboard!” the ship’s captain theatrically announces). As the ducks drift in different directions, the counting and ecological aspects of the tale emerge; one by one the toys encounter a critter from various ocean habitats. Carle’s jaunty renderings of these creatures and use of crisp verbs make this a lively journey: a dolphin jumps over the first duck, a pelican chatters at the fifth, a whale sings to the ninth. Full-page collage images give way to full-spread compositions as the 10th rubber duck meets with the most satisfying fate (it encounters a real mother duck and her nine ducklings). While mother and babies “Quack” goodnight to the moon, the new addition chimes in with a chipper “Squeak!” (a sound chip allows readers to hear it for themselves). A ducky tale indeed, as sublimely simple and endearing as the playthings it portrays.”
– Publishers Weekly, January 24, 2005