Written & Illustrated by: Mo Willems
Published in 2012
Genre: Picture Book
Grade Level: PreSchool-K
Summary: In this book a cute little duckling asks for a cookie politely, and is given one with nuts. Suddenly a pigeon comes on the scene and starts complaining about how he never gets anything he asks for. Eventually, the duckling agrees to give him the cookie, then asks for another one… this time without nuts.
The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? is one in a series of books by Mo Willems relating to a rather dramatic pigeon. We have read a couple of these books in school this year and the kids love them.
At first glance there really isn’t anything that special about these books. The illustrations are really minimal and there isn’t much of a story to them. If I had just seen this book in the store and never heard it read aloud I would probably never buy it. But that is the secret magic to these books: they need to be read aloud.
Most of the books in this series (The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? is a bit different) are really great when combined with student interaction. For example: in Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! the bus driver asks the reader to make sure the pigeon does not drive the bus. The pigeon then spends the whole book begging and pleading the reader to let him drive the bus. Since there is no written response to his pleas, the reader is expected to respond. And in my experience, all the kids want to respond.
So, after how awesome the other books in the series seemed, I jumped at the chance to buy this book. Now, as I stated before, The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? is a bit different from the other books I’ve read in the series. This book does not call on the reader to respond. Instead, the duckling is the one talking to the pigeon. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. Like I said before, the magic in these books is in the read aloud, in the student interaction. Without that the book is still cute. I love how the duckling manipulates the situation to get the cookie he wants (although I think that would be way above the heads of the preschoolers I’m working with). But without that reader interaction this is just another book. A good book, but nothing that special.
Final Thoughts: While this book didn’t fulfill all my dreams, it is still good one. It could be used to talk about manners in the classroom, which is another point in it’s favor. I do wish it relied more on reader interaction like other books in the series, but overall it was still an enjoyable book. I think kids who enjoyed the other books in the series would enjoy this book as well. If you haven’t seen any of the books in this series, I do recommend starting with Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! rather than this one.
I give The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? four stars.