Animals in Literature

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One Duck

One Duck tells a story of how small acts of kindness can make a difference. When a farmer starts to plow his field, a duck, who built a nest in the field, sits calmly on top of her eggs, watching the tractor. As the tractor gets closer to the duck, threatening her and her nest, the duck must decide what to do. Will the farmer see the duck before it is too late?

Why use this book?

  • This story demonstrates the interconnectedness of animals, people, and the environment, and how our actions can impact others.
  • Students will also discover that the best intentions do not always lead to good outcomes.

Ask your students:

  • Why do you think the duck nested in the farmer’s field? What kind of environments do ducks normally nest in? Do you think the farmer’s field and these environments are connected? Explain.
  • What action does the farmer take that threatens the life of the duck and the eggs? What action does the farmer take to protect the duck and the eggs? What is his motivation for doing these actions?
  • Do you think the crow is a significant character in this story?
  • Why does the crow cry “Robbed! Robbed! Robbed!”?
  • How are the duck and the farmer similar? How are the duck and the farmer different?


  • Vocabulary Explosion – Write some vocabulary words found in the story on the board. Have students use a dictionary to find a definition that is appropriate for the context of the story. Then have students use a thesaurus to find synonyms and antonyms for the word. Students can create “word explosions” to display in the classroom by placing the original word and definition in a big explosion text bubble in the middle of the page. Then place synonyms and antonyms around the original word in mini explosion bubbles. To differentiate, students should color code the antonyms and synonyms. Discuss the nuances of the words with your students.

One Duck is part of the AnimalTales program. Above, is a small selection of the discussion questions and activities that can be found in the Grade Five Teacher’s Guide. For additional discussion questions and activities request the FREE book-lending program for your class.


Hazel Hutchins, 1999


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