Thursday, March 10, 2016

[BOOK REVIEW] The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese

Title:  The Story About Ping

Author:  Marjorie Flack

Artist:  Kurt Wiese

Genre:  Animals / China / Family / Runaway

Year Published: 1933

Year Read:  1993

Grosset & Dunlap       

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Themes of Family Separation)

I actually first heard about his story years ago on a Weston Woods video.  “The Story of Ping” is a Chinese story by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese about how a young and beautiful duck named Ping gets lost in the Yangtze River after he tries to avoid punishment of being late.  “The Story of Ping” is a cute story about showing the consequences of disobedience and the importance of family that children cannot resist!

Once there lived a beautiful young yellow duck named Ping who lived with his mother, his father, his two sisters, his three brothers, his eleven aunts, his seven uncles and his forty-two cousins in the wise-eyed boat on the Yangtze River.  Every morning, the duck family would hunt for snails and fishes to eat, but in the evening, the master of the boat calls the duck family back to the boat and the last duck coming to the boat will be spanked.  One afternoon however, Ping did not hear the call from his master because he was underwater and when he finally swam towards the boat, the last of his forty-two cousins crossed the bridge and Ping did not want to be spanked, so he hid in the grasses until the next morning and he set out into the Yangtze River to find his family.

This is one of those books that remind me about why I love reading about folktales from different cultures!  Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese made a great team in both illustrating and writing this book!  Marjorie Flack did a great job at pointing out the messages of this book about how being disobedient can get you into trouble and the importance of family as Ping traveled the river by himself to find his family.  I also loved the Chinese influence that Marjorie Flack brought to the story as it made the story even more magical to read since it is like placing yourself in a faraway land!  I also loved the way that Marjorie Flack made Ping into a brave little duck as he was tried to find his family by himself and faced dangerous obstacles by himself and children will be rooting for him throughout the book.  Kurt Wiese’s illustrations are just simply beautiful, especially of the image of Ping himself as he is the only yellow duck in his entire family, which makes him truly stand out from all the other ducks.  The images that I really enjoyed in this book were the images of Ping swimming in the river and you can see Ping’s beautiful reflection in the water.

Parents should know that this book focuses on Ping being separated from his family, so smaller children might be upset about Ping going out into the river by himself with danger lurking everywhere.  Parents might want to read this book first to see if their children can handle Ping’s situation.

All in all, “The Story about Ping” is a fantastic book about the importance of family that many children will easily enjoy and learn from.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scene of Ping being separated from his family might scare smaller children.    

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