Title: John Philip Duck
Author/Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
Publisher: Philomel Books (Division of Penguin Young Readers)
Ages: 5 & up
Themes: animals, arts, biography, bravery, cause & effect, creativity, diversity, culture, helping others
Opening and Synopsis:
Edward was a sweet boy who lived with his family on a small farm
just outside of Memphis in the foothills of Tennessee. Times were hard.
There was a depression on and money was hard to come by.
Even though Edward was just a kid, he and his father worked at the same hotel in Memphis.
During the work week they stayed at the hotel, but on the weekends they both went home.
From the book jacket: When young Edward first brought his tiny wild duck to the grand hotel where he worked with his pa, his only thought was to keep it hidden. After all, he just needed a warm place for his little pet to stay during the day. Everyone helped to keep his secret.
Until one day, when Mr. Schutt, the blustery hotel manager, discovered the duck swimming in the lobby fountain! Surprised but not defeated, Edward showed Mr. Schutt how his duck could perform, even march to a John Philip Sousa tune. Maybe Edward could train other ducks to do the same. All he needed was Mr. Schutt’s okay-but could he get it in time to save John Philip Duck?
Go on Itunes and Spotify and listen to some John Philip Sousa music.
Visit online the Peabody Hotel in Memphis
Coloring pages of ducks
Patricia has some neat activities and free bookmarks at her website
Try a discussion with kids on tricks your favorite pets do. Do any of them like music?
What’s your favorite genre of music? Why?
What I liked about this book: Even though it is historical fiction, this story felt so real to me. It was fun to find out that there really is a Peabody Hotel in Memphis famous for its ducks in lobby. And Edward Pembroke really was the bellman and Duck Master for over 50 years at the Peabody. I loved the way the author wrote this as if it was set back in history. Using words like “Pa” and “lad” made you feel like you were back in the South in the ’30’s. The art in it is fantastic. The figures show emotion and pull the reader into that time frame in our history. The author gives us emotional ties to the young boy. When John Philip gets loose, you are anxious to turn the page to see what happens next. I loved how the hotel staff all helped the boy to keep the duck quiet. Anyone who’s ever owned a duck knows this is a very hard thing to do! 🙂
Perfect Picture Book Fridays are a weekly blog event where participants review some of their favorite picture books. The posts are compiled on author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website. They are categorized by theme to help parents, educators and readers find the perfect picture book easily. To learn more, please visit Susanna’s site where you will find the complete PPBF’s library.