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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Written by Holly DiBella-McCarthy and illustrated by Pradyut Chatterjee, the children's counting book Dilly Duck Plays All Day takes readers on a day in the life of a pond duck named Dilly. Dilly finds herself on the edge of a lake alone and bored, and decides to find “her friends, her flock, her crew!” The lake is big so finding each friend takes some time but one is added to the crew with the turning of each page. DiBella-McCarthy writes in a classic rhyme scheme where the prose dances on the pages like the swish, swish, swish of a friend's tail. From one to ten, the ducks come together by a different approach and before the next one comes along, the group plays or eats or glides in tandem. Chatterjee uses a digital pencil art method to illustrate the activities of the crew with vibrant colors.
Dilly doesn't have to sit feeling bored for very long before her first friend joins her so the counting lesson Holly DiBella-McCarthy weaves into the book hits the water swimming. At the end of the book, there's an interactive section with two distinct question and answer parts. In a sad but important lesson within the story, one of Dilly's friends falls victim to lake debris which traps them under a littered net. This is made into a conversation topic at the book's conclusion and asks, “Why isn't play time with friends happy all the time?” I am always mentally tabulating conversation prompts for my kids so the pleasant surprise of having the work done for me, and done so well, was amazing. Pradyut Chatterjee's illustrations are bright and simple, enhancing the story in an even stride that adds to the writing without drowning it out. The turquoise hue of the water is divine. Counting, social studies, environmental nods, and a fun reading experience are all a parent looks for, and Dilly does deliver.