The Story About Ping
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The Story About Ping

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  27,037 ratings  ·  290 reviews
Ping was an adventurous duck who lived on a beautiful wise-eyed boat on the Yangtze River. He liked his life on the riverboat just and liked his large family and his kind master. He didn't like to be the last in line to board the boat at night, for that unlucky duck got a loud spank. So what did Ping do when it seemed that he would be the last on line? What else but set ou...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published August 28th 2000 by Grosset & Dunlap (first published 1933)
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Since this is a children's book review, I ought to warn you:


Okay, so this book is FUCKED up. It's about a cute little duck who lives somewhere in China, and he's one of the many ducks that lives on some kinda boat, and every day he's supposed to get back on the boat at the end of his time hanging out in the water. And, every day, the last duck on the boat gets hit on the butt by the human who is in charge of the boat. It's VIOLENT!

So, our protagonist, named PING, loses track of time, and he se...more
Eva Leger
Uh, am I the only one that has a problem with this little duck being whacked for no reason? Is it really just me? I'm sorry but we want to ban books that talk about sex and mention a cuss word but we can beat defenseless little ducks? What the fuck is wrong with this picture?
I get this was published in 1933 when spanking was in. Hell, I'm not even against spanking! But in a book? With a little duck? Who did nothing wrong?!
Is it just me (again) or did I read in the description that this duck li...more
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,...more
I have especially fond memories of this book. I just felt like I was there, on the river.

Re-reading it this week brought to mind sadness at how quickly the planet can be changed by people. The Yangtze river way of life is quite different than it was 70 years ago when this book was written. (And perhaps Flack didn't have it exactly right; she's not Chinese, after all.) But certainly things have changed. In the 30 years since I became acquainted with the book, the Yangtze Valley has lost 140 villa...more
Other than Russell Hoban's "Frances" series, this book is my favorite childhood memory. It foretold a life of distraction, rebellion, waywardness, all nighters, and the last duck home swat. I was fortunate enough to buy a Signed, First Edition this book at auction. It is a treasured possession.
The classic book, The Story about Ping, is a page turner, featuring a little yellow duck, who, in fear of receiving punishment, hides from it, only to meet something much more sinister. The theme of the book is a combination of “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” and “there’s no place like home.” Ping, who is personified with human-like feelings, is late arriving to his family’s boat one afternoon. He knows that the last duck acros...more
This was required reading as an additive for my 5 yr old's history lesson. He enjoyed the story, and it was relatively interesting, I was just hoping for a little more Chinese culture. It takes place on the Yangtze river, which is mentioned over and over again on each page, so it's great for repetitive learning if your child keeps forgetting the name of the river, but other than that, not much info on China. So much more could have been done with this book, and so I was disappointed. It's somewh...more
This was a favorite of mine as a child and I read this to my own child and we both loved that naughty duck - it is all about getting the little spank and avoiding that consequence! Ping's adventures are infinitely human - we all want to avoid those nasty consequences, but in the end (literally and figuratively) we learn from the school of hard knocks or whacks in this case. The pictures and the story are equally wonderful.
Lisa Vegan
I completely forgot about this book until I saw it at Goodreads. But I remember liking it a lot as a kid. It was first read to me and when I learned to read, I read it to myself as well. I was fascinated by the foreign setting. I don’t have a copy now; I assume at this point I’d hate the part about the spanking.
Jan 25, 2009 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Cute story about a little duck who goes to lengths to avoid a spanking and ends up having an adventure. We really enjoyed the story and the illustrations are lovely.
When I was just a wee little thing, my sister and I could not get enough of this book. It's Ping! An adorable duck, who lives on a boat that (weirdly) has eyeballs, and goes on adventures near the Yangtze River! WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE!?!

A reread suggests that what's not to love is the way Ping is apparently beaten by the smiling Master of the Boat, and when he runs away in fear, he loses his way ("Nowhere could Ping see the wise-eyed boat which was his home!"), is kidnapped by a nasty little boy we...more
Elyse M.
When I was four, my Mom got this book for me for a series we used in homeschooling called "5-in-1". I instantly fell in love with the story of the duckling, the beautiful pencil crayon illustrations and the mystery if an land unknown to me. Well, "5-in-1" taught me a lot of the stuff I wondered, but I still read this book for the fond memories of rainy days curled up with my Mom reading, and of Ping who I still love very much. The writing is beautifully simple, and has enough mystery to keep you...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was one of my favorite books when I was a child. I can still remember my dad reading it to my siblings and me at bedtime and hollering out the loudest "La-la-la-la-lei!" that he could muster. We loved it.
I distinctly remember being fascinated by the idea of the Yangtze River. This was possibly the first book to make me realize that there were different cultures in the world beyond the American one in which I lived, and I am sure it helped to inspire my love of travel and exploration.
In the Story About Ping you have ducks getting whacked, one who practically runs away to not get whacked, enslaved birds, imminent death of the main character to feed humans, and boys tied to boats. The strangest part though is that I absolutely LOVED this book as a child. My mother hated reading it to me because she thought it was too depressing, but I would beg and beg and beg for her to read it one more time. She said some nights I would ask for her to read it three or four times in a row.

I read this because it's on my daughter's five in a row book list for home schooling. I'm sure it was a great children's book during the time of it's publication but it's pretty dated and insensitive by today's standards. My child found the animal story and the information about China interesting but was to disturbed about the boat owner hitting the duck to get the moral of it at all. He runs away to escape being whacked as the last duck on the boat, then gets in danger, escapes, finds his famil...more
I'll chalk it up to this, if you dislike the idea of spanking, skip this book. I have never had to spank my child (we use other discipline methods that don't rule by fear of pain). I strongly dislike spanking - do we really think our children are so mindless that they can only learn if physically subjected to pain? And what motivation does that offer to learn proper behavior when fear of spanking is over? It is a temporary solution. Anyway, the point of this is, that my son was disturbed by the...more
This story is about a duck named ping who dosen't want to be the last duck up on the plank so he doesn't go home . He then gets lost and captured and almost becomes supper but is let go at the last minute. He is finally reunited back with his family.

Ping a young duck with a very large family who gets lost and almost eaten and he is bright yellow.

This story takes place on the Yangtze river in the 1900's on a boat.

I would recommend this book to little children. They will love all the pictures an...more
Mar 04, 2009 Contemplative rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Contemplative by: Rachel Harris
What a delightful story. My 4yr old and 2yr old thoroughly enjoyed this story and requested it several times as their bedtime story. It was a wonderful way to introduce the country of China in January for Chinese New Year. We visited the Forbidden Gardens and learned about some of China's history. Even my 2yr old made the connection after crossing a waterway and said "Mama where's Ping?" Needless to say, I was smiling from ear to ear!
I think I first heard this read on the Captain Kangaroo television show when I was three or four years old. I utterly identified with Ping as a fellow curious little person exploring the enormous world. I was hugely relieved at his safe return home, but then and every time thereafter that I heard the story, I felt that it was most unfair that the last duck in line every night got a spank!
There's plenty to like in this simple story with its likeable character and memorable illustration. It's not a great book, but it has stood the test of time - celebrating its 80th anniversary next year). I would plead for moderation in over-reading the switching Ping gets - it's more like switching cattle than beating an animal or abusing a child.
OK, this was bought as a lark, trying to get free shipping. I must admit it was pretty good, after all it was written in the 1930's. The illustrations were great & the children I have read it to, did start to ask questions about China, so I guess it does still spark the imagination of the younger generations!
Amy Lemley
The story is set in Japan where a duck, who was part of a boat with his family ducks, is let ashore for a while until the Japanese boater makes a special call. If any ducks are late, then they get slapped on the butt up the ramp and into the boat. Well, Ping didn't hear the special call once and ends up going on an adventure far away from his family. He almost gets eaten by a family until the boy who found him in the water sets him free on the water again. He eventually finds his way home, but e...more
Feb 29, 2008 Kirei rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kids
Shelves: younger-kids
Well, I liked this book, but I can't really see what the fuss is to make it on virtually every children's book reading list. The moral is to go ahead and get your spanking or you'll get lost? Or the moral is that you will eventually find your family, despite the odds?
I'm trying to read more of the classic children's books (since I'm coming up on my 1 year anniversary as an official Youth Services Librarian). This one wasn't as offensive as The Five Chinese Brothers, but it was still pretty strange.

Ping is a duck(ling) who lives on a boat with eyes (just go with it) on the Yangtze River. Every day, the boatman stops at the shore and the ducks go eat. However, the ducks can evidently also tell time because the boatman expects them to be ON TIME getting back on...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angie S
I've read the reviews for this book. I totally get the complaints about the "wacking"/spanking of the baby duck when he arrives last to the boat. I think the theme of the book is missing when we focus on the "violence."

As kids/people we make mistakes. No one is perfect. It is hard to face our challenges and mistakes and at times we "hide in the bushes" to avoid the consequences of our actions.

When we "hide" we wander around lost like the little duck. We may feel angry, hurt, justified in our de...more
I read this many times to my children. I enjoyed it. All three children liked it. At one point we used it for a week long discussion period reading it once each day for five days in a row and doing a different activity or discussing a different element each day. It was perfect for that. My favorite element was probably the cormorants which I have since gotten to see on an excellent documentary about China. Don't you just love that when you get to travel or see further info and it reminds you of...more
The book that sealed my fate as a bookworm.
Through the years, this story has lost none of its potential to charm the kids who read it.

The lightheartedly suspenseful story about a lost duck named Ping, separated from his large family because he does not want to suffer the ignominy of coming in last over the plank to his family's master's boat and receive a spank on the back for his slowness, is different from most picture books in that I really didn't know what was going to happen as the story progressed. On his own amidst the dangers t...more
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