Click, Clack, Quack to School!

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Click, Clack, Quack to School! Book Poster Image
Animals let loose at recess in fun school-visit tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows how fun school is at recess! In a lighthearted way, gets across the message that it's best to be quiet and calm during other parts of the school day. One spread features Duck meditating, breathing "slowly and deeply." Parents may need to explain meditation practice. 

Positive Messages

Duck's rules: "Be kind. Be safe. Be helpful. Be honest. Respect one another. Don't eat the paste."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Farmer Brown is always kind to his animals and tries to prepare them to follow school rules. The animals study the rule book he gives them and approach the visit with calm and seriousness. The school kids are diverse and include a student who uses a wheelchair and both a girl and boy playing basketball.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Click, Clack, Quack to School! is another in author Doreen Cronin and illustrator Betsy Lewin's funny barnyard series that began with Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. In this one, the nearby elementary school invites Farmer Brown and his animals for a visit. Farmer Brown tries to prepare them, explaining school is quiet, serious, and calm, but when they arrive at recess and see the kids "wiggling and giggling, squeaking and squealing, "etc., the animals let loose in their natural ways. Including Duck, who steps into the principal's chair to make up some genuinely positive rules of his own. With its fun repetition, lively wordplay, and beloved characters, it makes a great read-aloud.

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What's the story?

CLICK, CLACK, QUACK TO SCHOOL! kicks off with Farmer Brown getting an invitation from Dinklemeyer Elementary School to bring his animals to the school's Farm Day Lunch the following day. When the cows hear the news, they "stomped and clomped and moo, mooed!" But then Farmer Brown tells them, "School is very quiet. ... "There is no clomping; no stomping; and no moo moo mooing." A similar thing happens when the chickens hear the news: "They clapped and snapped and cluck, cluck, clucked!" But then Farmer Brown says, "School very serious ... There is no clapping; no snapping; and no cluck, cluck clucking," and so on with all the other animals. Except for Duck, who's meditating when Farmer Brown tells him simply, "Don't be so Duck-y." The animals are all prepared for a quiet visit, but just as they arrive recess starts and the kids pour out of the schoolhouse and go wild on the playground, so the animals join in and let loose. Then Duck sneaks into the principal's office and makes up some new rules of his own, which are more reasonable and relevant than the farmer's, including "Be kind," "Be Safe," "Respect one another," and of course, "Don't eat paste."

Is it any good?

Lively repetition of fun words like wiggle and giggle, stomp and clomp, and hoot and holler make this school-themed romp a delightful read-aloud. And there's the usual push and pull of Framer Brown trying to get his animals to behave and the animals working around that. It's a fine, silly adventure, and a celebration of the fact that for kids, the free play at recess can be the best part of the school day. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the school rules described in Click, Clack, Quack to School! When is it OK to wiggle and giggle? When is it best to be quiet and serious?

  • Which animals in this series are your favorites? Who's the funniest? Who gets in trouble the most? 

  • Why does Farmer Brown tell Duck not to be so Duck-y? Does Duck obey him or not?

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