Cover image for Ducks disappearing
Ducks disappearing
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [1997]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Willie solves the mystery of the disappearing ducklings and involves the motel staff in the rescue operation by telling them that the ducks belong to everyone.
Reading Level:
AD 560 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 17522.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.5 2 Quiz: 13757 Guided reading level: K.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



One...two...three...Willie is having fun counting the eleven ducklings parading behind mama duck outside the motel restaurant. But soon he realizes that some of the ducklings seem to be disappearing, and the grown-ups he tells don't take him very seriously. It's up to a resourceful young boy to show that good counting and caring are called for to get to the bottom of things.

Author Notes

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was born in Anderson, Indiana on January 4, 1933. She received a bachelor's degree from American University in 1963. Her first children's book, The Galloping Goat and Other Stories, was published in 1965. She has written more than 135 children and young adult books including Witch's Sister, The Witch Returns, The Bodies in the Bessledorf Hotel, A String of Chances, The Keeper, Walker's Crossing, Bernie Magruder and the Bats in the Belfry, Please Do Feed the Bears, and The Agony of Alice, which was the first book in the Alice series. She has received several awards including the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Night Cry and the Newberry Award for Shiloh.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 2^-5. A toddler plays detective in this picture-book mystery that will have kids counting and wondering. While his father is at a meeting, Willie and his mother have lunch in the motel, and they see a mother duck and her ducklings marching proudly across the courtyard. Willie counts 11 ducklings. But each time he looks, there is one duckling less. He searches everywhere, but he can't find the missing ducklings. He tells the manager and the workers in the motel, but no one cares. Only Willie knows "something bad was happening to the ducklings and it was happening very fast." Then, when there are only 3 left, he finds where the missing ducklings have fallen, and he makes the adults rescue them. The motel setting will appeal to preschoolers, and they will relate to the simple cartoon-style watercolors that show the sturdy, determined boy who watches those waddling ducklings disappear and won't rest until he finds them. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Despite some potentially attractive components-ducklings, a boy who likes to count, a mystery and a rescue mission-this picture book from Newbery Medalist Naylor (Shiloh) is surprisingly lackluster. While having lunch with his mom at a motel, a boy spies a mother duck and all 11 of her ducklings marching by the restaurant window. Subsequent head counts, however, reveal that the ducklings are disappearing one by one, but Willie's attempts to alert motel employees about the problem fall on deaf ears. When the concerned youngster discovers that the missing baby birds have fallen into a storm drain, the adults, after putting up a little more resistance, finally rescue the brood. Willie's counting skill and perseverance pay off, yet the payoff to readers of this poorly paced and inadequately characterized story is far less obvious. Drawing on a pale, at times washed-out palette, Maddox's spare watercolors are stiff and, like Naylor's text, offer little variety or stimulation. Ages 5-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1‘Willie and his mother are eating breakfast in a motel coffee shop while his father attends a meeting. Willie notices one mother duck and 11 ducklings in the courtyard, but when he looks again a moment later, there are only 10. How he solves the puzzle of the Ducks Disappearing makes for a satisfying tale that is a cross between a mystery and a counting book. The smoothly told story features an unusual setting, a "love the animals" message, and an observant child who perseveres despite the busy (and fairly oblivious) adults around him. The softly colored watercolors convey the mood and action nicely, using simple cartoon figures that are round and appealing. An attractive and absorbing book packed with child appeal.‘Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.