The Story About Ping

October 5, 2017
Subheader: 

Duck, duck, abuse.

Review: 

A young duck named Ping lives with a gajillion other ducks on a boat in China. I'm not really sure why. I guess the owner is a duck farmer? Every day the ducks are loosed into the river to feed, but they have to return at a certain time. The farmer always smacks the last duck to get back onto the boat with a stick. Ping is a little bit distracted one day trying to catch a fish, and doesn't hear his master calling for them. When he realizes he will be the last duck to get on the boat, he doesn't want to get smacked, so he hides instead. His boat sails away, and he's all alone. He spends the night alone, and sees all kinds of weird stuff. He gets captured by this other family that threaten to eat him, but he looks so beautiful that the little boy who caught him sets him free.

The next day, he sees his family of ducks and hears the farmer calling, realizing he will be the last one on the boat, and runs up even though he is going to be spanked, and is happy to be home again.

Augh! Nothing like this would be written today. It's just so a product of its time. Even back then, I think the message was: If your family is abusive to you, suck it up because home is where you belong. Nobody would write a book with that message nowadays! That's just so against the kind of thing we believe! The world is dangerous, yeah, and he almost gets eaten, but really! Thinking about it, might that not be his ultimate fate as well? The duck farmer is raising like 40 some-odd ducks. He's not just doing it for kicks. He's got to be eating them. He's got to be making some kind of money for that. He's not just doing it because he loves ducks. They're not his pets. I don't even know. I don't even know what to say about this book. It's just so outdated, it's bizarre. Plus it's got the weird setting of China, and stereotypical depictions of the humans, like "Ha ha, aren't those foreigners and their ducks quaint!"

Message: 

It's better to be with your family even if they are physically abusive.

Illustrator
Publication Year
  • 1933
Age Range
Age Range: 
4-8
Number of Pages
Number of Pages: 
32
Number of Words on Typical Page
Number of Words: 
55

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