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The Sissy Duckling

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  265 ratings  ·  59 reviews

Elmer is not like the other boy ducklings. While they like to build forts, he loves to bake cakes. While they like to play baseball, he wants to put on the halftime show. Elmer is a great big sissy.

But when his father is wounded by a hunter's shot, Elmer proves that the biggest sissy can also be the greatest hero.

Acclaimed actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein has craf

Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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kept this book ever-on-hand when i taught elementary and middle school. talked to a former student the other day who remembered my taking him to our book nook and reading it aloud after a particularly tough recess-- sigh. an indispensable little story for the teacher's toolkit.
Halley Todd
This story is an excellent tale about accepting one's self and others for what they are, which is perhaps an especially relevant topic to discuss with children due to the recent increase in bullying. Elmer is not like the other boy ducks. He likes to bake, paint, cook, and be creative. He does not like sports, and one day skips away from a baseball game. The other ducks call him a sissy, which infuriates his father who says some hateful things that cause Elmer to run away. However, when his fath ...more
Aug 18, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an interesting story about being different and being accepted for those differences. The tale is an fit for young boys who are ostracized for not being manly or macho enough, but our girls empathized with Elmer, too. I think most children at one time or another feel different from everyone else and it helps to show that we can embrace our differences and be proud of our talents, even if it sets us apart from the crowd.

The narrative is entertaining and the illustrations are colorful and
Tim Snell
Genre: Traditional
Copyright: 2002

Elmer the duck isn't exactly like the other boy ducks in the pond. In fact, he's nothing like the other boy ducks! Elmer enjoys doing the things he does and refuses to change, even when the others call him a sissy. Then something unexpected happens, and Elmer must make a decision that will affect him for the rest of his life.

"The Sissy Duckling" is a story that is full of great morals! It touches on being unique and not falling into specific "gender roles". It al
Mira Domsky
Too complicated for story time, but a really sweet book about a duckling named Elmer who doesn't like to do normal boy things. He does his own thing, and in the end, it works out just fine for him. I guess it's been challenged as a book that promotes homosexuality and nonstandard gender roles, and it could certainly be taken that way(which doesn't bother me in the slightest). But really, it's appeal is that it's a book about being different, and being different can be a good thing!
While I believe this book was created with the best of intentions I didn't like it at all. The titular character has to EARN his fathers love and approval by rescuing him instead of the father coming to realise that there was never anything wrong with his son in the first place.

Also, I find the teasing sequences quite harsh. If this is being shown to a child who is suffering bullying because of unconventional gender display it could be quite upsetting.

This is one of my favorite books which helps address LGBTQ books. This book is my favorite because it introduces the concept in not such an obvious way. There is a boy in the story who doesn't like all of the many things. Instead he likes to sew and nit and cook. He gets made fun of at school because he likes to do these things and sadly enough even his own father makes fun of him. His mother doesn't like the fact that his father teases him and calls him a sissy because she believes that everyon ...more
A heartwarming tale of a young duck who acts differently than the other ducks and endures criticism because of his uniqueness. In the end Elmer is celebrated for his differences and courage. This would be a good book to read to spark a discussion about individuality.
I was hesitant to mark this book as glbt, since there is nothing inherently gay about the duckling in this book. Lots of boys don't like to play sports and prefer creating things to fist fighting with other boys. There's nothing about those preferences that equals gay. Also, there's no mention at all of Elmer liking other boy ducks, so again, nothing actually gay about him. Yet the author is a known gay-rights activist and clearly had a purpose with this book, so it seems silly to NOT mark it as ...more




5 out of 5

Ease of Reading Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Plot: 5 out of 5

Elmer is different from other male ducklings — he likes to cook, clean, paint pictures, and other non-masculine things. And because of this, everyone calls him a sissy, even his own father. But will they learn that Elmer is just fine the way he is?

This book is on th
Kristin Lee
The illustrations in this book are wonderful. This is a book that I feel should be read to children because there are great lessons to be learned from the book that occur in real life. Unfortunately there are children that chose to become bullies instead of friends. The book teaches children to be true to who they are as a person. Everyone is special and unique in their own way. When Elmer started to get bullied by Drake and the other ducklings, he felt very alone. Then when he heard his father ...more
Dev Singer
I read this book for my Multicultural Resources for Diverse Communities class.

Fierstein, H. (2002). The sissy duckling. Cole, H. (Illus.) New York: Simon & Schuster.

Hardcover | $17.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-689-83466-7 | 40 unnumbered pages | Grades P-3 (“The Sissy Duckling”) - Fiction

What is a young boy—er, duck—to do when he’s different to the core, and the only person who seems to value him is his mother? Stay true to himself and prove his worth to the world, according to Harvey Fierstein.

A Lam
Erica Mayberry
Judging a book by its cover will usually always backfire. It makes me happy that this book ended the way it did because respect was deserved regardless of how the duck acted.
Almost bought this because it's written by Harvey Fierstein. Plus it came with a CD recording of Harvey reading the book. Can you imagine a funnier sounding narrator?
Aug 06, 2014 Leslie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers
When working with students on understanding that diversity, this would be an outstanding book.
Helen Kumpel
This book is for: PreK-5
I remember reading this book in class and thinking, "Wow! This is kind of a sensitive topic..."
I am glad this book exist. I know there are some children that feel "different" but are quite content with who they are and being themselves. This book is a great book to have on the shelf for students to read and think about not only if they can relate to the book but if they know someone that they can relate the book. This book gives them a different perspective th
Jun 21, 2007 HeavyReader rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids, sissies of any age
My young friend Jonah got this book when he was pretty little, and I got to read it.

It is a really funny, positive story about a boy duckling who is ridiculed by the other male ducks because he isn't macho enough. (Is there a special word for macho ducks? They certainly aren't "manly." Are they "drakely?") The little sissy duck is exhiled only to later (of course) save the day.

It's a great book about being yourself and accepting others. I think it's a good book for any kid, sissy or not, and pr
Allie Lu
A favorite for weeks.
Patrick Stoner
This book is a great book for children. It offers many great morals and aspects. It goes to show children that they can be themselves and they shouldn't change to fit in with other people. There was humor and excitement in the feel good story of Elmer. this book even gave me the chills when he was saving his father, who even called him a sissy. Bullying is also an aspect in this story. It shows that bullies aren't wanted and that they always are wrong or get into trouble in the end. I give this ...more
Lauren Brown
This is about a duckling that wasn't like any of the others. He wasn't good at sports like all the other ducks and they called him a sissy. He ran away from home and ended up saving his father after he was shot by a hunter. He made a home and they survived the winter together. Everyone looked up to him after that. This is a good book to let students know that not everybody is the same and not everyone is good at sports. They will always find something they are good at.
A cute book about a gay duckling who everyone, including his macho father, thinks is a sissy. However Elmer is just the duck to prove them wrong, which he does at the end of the book, in a dramatic way. It was a little too hopeful about bullying and how to stop it, but it does at least address the problem that all children who are different suffer from bullying, whether they are gay or not. Recommended for ages 5-9.
Elmer, a happy duckling, is scorned by his father and his classmates for being too feminine. After Elmer runs away from home, he proves himself by heroically saving his father’s life.

Adorable illustrations- Elmer’s pink book bag, fashion drawings on his bedroom wall, very expressive duck faces. Great story which is helpful for young boys who may be facing stigma at school and at home for “sissy” behavior.
Melinda Garman
Elmer is not like all the other ducks. He likes to paint pictures, play make-beleive, and decorating cookies. All the other boy duckling played football, baseball, and boxed. All the other boys thought Elmer was a sissy, even his father.Elmer proves in the end that the things that make him different are what makes him special and shouldn't be something he is ashamed of.
Elmer was happy cooking, painting, and playing make believe. He usually played alone and his father was not happy about this. His father was also unhappy with his lack of baseball skills. Elmer packs his bad and goes away. The hunters injure his father. He makes a tidy home and nurses his father back to health. It is now accepted that Elmer can be his special and unique self.
Stacey Woodward
i did not totaly read the book by words, but i did read it by the detailed pictures like a child might, i could tell that it was a very typical story of a shunned duckling that in the end does good and is allowed back n society. i dont really give it much as far as inovation in that department but i will admit that the consept reversal is very interesting =)
This book teaches that its okay for boys to like girly things and vise-versa. This duckling is called a sissy because he likes to bake cakes and put on shows, but when the duckling's father is hurt by a hunter, the duckling is there to save the day and shows his dad that he has something to offer the world.

I would use this book to teach acceptance.
This book is about a male duckling completing activities that generally a female would. Some of these activities being building sandcastles, putting on puppet shows, etc. I would use this book in my classroom to show how gender roles can switch and it can still be acceptable. Your gender does not pre-dispose to gender specified activities.
Megan MacDonald
Elmer is a happy sissy duckling! This is an encouraging story that everyone can be strong and no assupmtions should be made about other people or animals just becuase they are different from you. Even though Elmer the duck was called names, even by his own father, he ended up being the hero in the end by being himself.
Thom Dunn
"Elmer arrived at school the next morning to find big bully Drake Duckling blocking the path.
'No sissies allowed in MY school,' Drake squawked.
Elmer faced him down, bill to bill. 'You are just angry because I do things differently. But one day I will amaze you all !'
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Harvey Forbes Fierstein is an American Tony Award-winning and Emmy Award-winning actor, playwright, and screenwriter.

The gravelly-voiced actor perhaps is known best for the play and film Torch Song Trilogy, which he wrote and starred in. The 1982 Broadway production won him two Tony Awards, for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play, two Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Acto
More about Harvey Fierstein...
Torch Song Trilogy Harvey Fierstein's Safe Sex La Cage Aux Folles Newsies Songbook: Music from the Broadway Musical La Cage Aux Folles

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