Peep Leap

High above the ground in a tree hollow, Mama Wood Duck is watching nine of her ten eggs hatch. She’s so delighted to meet her new chicks, but there’s one egg left … why hasn’t it hatched?

With a final bout of wiggling, wobbling, and shaking, the shell of the tenth egg cracks and out comes a tiny yellow and brown duckling named Peep. Mama Wood Duck tells the ducklings that since the sun is up, it’s time for the chicks to jump out of the nest and into the pond, where Papa Wood Duck awaits. It’s a task all the newborns have to complete, even though it’s steep and can be scary.

As Mama and Papa encourage them, the first nine jump without a care in the world. But little Peep is frightened, quiet and still on a tree branch, shaking in fear as Mama encourages him to be brave. He tries counting to three, but still doesn’t have the courage to jump. Mama suggests he count down from ten, and all the ducks count down with him, which gives Peep the strength to face his fear and jump into the pond! His brothers, sisters, and parents are so happy he joined them and swim joyfully with Peep.

Author Elizabeth Verdick concludes the book for ages 3 – 7 with a page-long explanation about wood ducks, outlining how they nest differently from other waterfowl, as well as the mother duck staying with the chicks, while the father doesn’t. She explains their first foray into the water and why they jump rather than fly.

The illustrations by John Bendall-Brunello are simple and serene, perfect depictions of ducks, chicks, and drakes.