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John Philip Duck

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  333 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Edward loves his pet duck more than anything. He raised it from a baby, and now it follows him everywhere&150even to the big fancy hotel in Memphis where he works with his father. Everyone at the Peabody loves to watch that little duck do tricks; why, it can even waddle up and down in time to a John Philip Sousa march, which is why Edward decides to name it John Philip ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published June 17th 2004 by Philomel Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 527)
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Lisa Vegan
Jan 08, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
The title of this didn’t appeal to me, which is one reason it’s in my last group of Polacco read books. However, I ended up being completely charmed.

I love Polacco’s book dedication: “In loving memory of Robert McCloskey, inspiration to me since I was a child."

Because, this is a fictional story based on the resident ducks at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Polacco researched how the custom got started and found out about the first Peabody Duckmaster. Then, she used her imagination to create this s
Jan 10, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom, dad
We all loved this book. Patricia Polacco is a favorite author of ours. Jacob and Ellie's great grandpa played with John Philip Sousa and it makes this book even more special to us.
May 08, 2014 Sandy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, childrens
I have a fascination with ducks. Something about how they take care of one another and how they fly in formation amazes me. Whenever I see ducks, I think it’s a sign of good luck and of course, when they fly overhead…. I have to stop and watch. Patricia Polacco’s book titled John Philip Duck was a fun and delightful book about a boy and his duck. Patricia tells her story with wonderful illustrations that capture your heart and can tell the whole story just by looking at the pictures. I really en ...more
Livvie Esslinger
This is the life story of Edward Pembroke, the duckmaster of Peabody Hotel. He started out, as a boy, working at the hotel with his father during the depression. After the hotel staff somewhat adopts and protects Edward's pet duck as their own, they discover the duck can march in form to the tapping of Edward's stick. When the hotel owner finds out, he makes Edward a deal. In keeping his end of the bargain, Edward teaches many ducks how to put on a marching show and stay in the fountain of the h ...more
Rosa Cline
Sep 21, 2014 Rosa Cline rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, mine-read
Such a wonderfully done fictional story, although you think as you are reading it; it's real. It's a different type of story not the 'same ol same ol' you are used to reading as a children's book. A little boy and his dad has to work away from their families during the week. One weekend when they were working at their farm when wild ducks flew over, he found a small baby one that had been left. He took it and cared for him. He took him to the motel where he and his dad worked 'hiding' him from t ...more
Dec 08, 2014 Jackie rated it really liked it
As with most of Polacco's stories, John Philip Duck is loosely based on actual facts. As a young boy, Edward was fascinated by ducks, while he worked at a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Finding a fledgling on his family's farm, he decided to raise it with love and care, even bringing it with him to the hotel during the week. The little duck was soon 'adopted' by most of the staff, but worried about the owner finding out.

Edward began training the duck to march to Sousa's music, and this unique tr
Andrea Boyd
Jul 16, 2014 Andrea Boyd rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This was a beautifully written and illustrated book. This is a fictional story (loosely based on actual events) about how the tradition of the ducks that march through the lobby at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis came to be. Having seen the ducks in action before I was delighted by this story. If I had never seen this event I think I would still be intrigued by this read. Kids will be at the end of their seats waiting to see if this little boy's dream becomes a reality and they will not be disappoi ...more
Aug 09, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it
Another outstanding Polacco that would be extremely special to anyone who has had the pleasure of viewing the Peabody ducks in Memphis. Our junior high kids actually enjoy this one when studying the depression.
The Reading Countess
The fictional story of how the world-famous Peabody ducks came to be parading twice-daily into the hotel's fountain penned like no one other than Polacco can do.
Jan 17, 2011 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, 2011
I want to visit The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN.
Katelyn Dauer
Apr 30, 2016 Katelyn Dauer rated it really liked it
The book John Philip Duck by Patricia Polacco is a story that is loosely based on the true story of the origin of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks in Memphis, TN, a small flock of ducks that perform each day in the hotel lobby and swim in the fountain. Polacco researched and wrote the story of Edward Pembroke, the first Peabody Duck master after many stays at the hotel. It is the story of a young boy learning responsibility and his life mission through saving and training the ducks. Polacco both w ...more
May 01, 2009 Ruhama rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile
Edward is a young black man who lives during tough times in Tennessee. He and his father work in the nearby city at one of the posh hotels. One day, Edward finds a baby duck and asks if he can keep him, including taking him to work. His father finally relents, and eventually the
entire staff falls in love with John Philip Duck. Everyone except the owner, that is—Mr. Schutt is a hard man who runs a strict hotel, and when he finds out about the duck, he gives Edward one month to train him to march
Dec 06, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
Edward Pembroke works with his father at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. There is a depression going on and times are hard all around. Edward and his Pa work during the week at the hotel and sleep there. Then, on the weekends they go back home to their farm. Edward loved his time at home listening to the radio especially when John Philip Sousa and his brass band played. Edward would dance around the house to the lively music. Even though Edward was a hard worker, he was also a dreamer. One day whi ...more
Jul 25, 2012 Holly rated it really liked it
Plot Summary:
An African-American boy named Edward and his dad work at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Edward keeps a duck as a pet, taking it to the hotel with him, and the duck is the beginning of the infamous Peabody Ducks.
Personal Evaluation:
This book is a delightful fiction story about a child having dreams and working toward those dreams. I love the illustrations and would recommend it highly for older children, since the text is longer and the content a little deeper than typical picture boo
Lacey Bolen
Feb 26, 2015 Lacey Bolen rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and think it could be a great read aloud for around second grade. I think it could work really well with a lesson on problem and solution, cause and effect, or plot development. There is a great variety of sentence structure as well as dialogue and as always Patricia Polacco's illustrations are a wonderful addition.
As I read more Patricia Polacco books I was thinking it could be a good project for students to do a short research project on an author of there choice.
Apr 12, 2016 alix rated it really liked it
I'm reading this book with my Guided Reading group. The illustrations are lush and energetic, and the story highlights the perseverance and creativity of its main character. There are some good moments for discussing economic depression/ hardship, class, and race with early grade readers, too. I enjoyed this imaginative fictionalized backstory for the Peabody ducks (which I have seen in real life, and which are super cute ^_^).
Mar 19, 2011 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a fun and whimsical tale about ducks who swim in a fountain at a hotel and march in line on cue to marching songs by John Philip Sousa. We love Patricia Polacco's books and we are working our way through her bibliography slowly. This was a great story to read aloud and we really enjoyed it.

I'm glad that we found this book. It was nominated here for the March 2011 Music-themed reads for the Picture-Book club in the Children's Books group here at Goodreads. It wasn't selected as one of th
Amy Edwards
May 29, 2015 Amy Edwards rated it really liked it
Shelves: lydia-s-2015
We had fun reading this. At the right moment in the story I hit play on "Stars and Stripes Forever" on my phone, and then finished the book with it as background music. And, yes, what I hear in my head with that march is "Be kind to your web-footed friends...," so it is a perfect accompaniment in two ways.
Kristine Hansen
Jun 08, 2015 Kristine Hansen rated it really liked it
While this is a fictionalized account of the story, I still enjoyed the tale of one boy who trained ducks to march and swim and stay all day in a fountain at a fancy hotel. Very cool how the hotel staff came together to help the boy. Fun to read!
Janna C
Feb 10, 2015 Janna C rated it it was amazing
Vibrant pictures and a sweet story line.
Mar 22, 2016 A.J. rated it liked it
Shelves: patricia-palacco
I did not really care for the story line of this book. However, it may appeal to some groups of students. I also thought this might be a good trade book to use in social studies when introducing elections and ballots.
Dec 05, 2011 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picturebooks, fiction
This was a really interesting, realistic fiction book. It was about a young boy who taught ducks to walk through a hotel and swim in the fountain. It is colorful, funny, and supenseful at times. The book is a good one for a read aloud. There are many characters, so voices are a must when reading it. The book is fast paced and will make any young children laugh out loud! It would be a good book to use to introduce supporting details with. The words in the book are very descriptive and would make ...more
Nov 18, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing
This book is charming and engaging. Based on a true story but told like something utterly fictional, this books transports the young reader into a time that rarely visited in quality children's literature. We enjoyed the suspense and the joy of this story. My 4 year old was astounded that wild ducks could be trained to ride elevators, swim in fountains and march to John Phillips Sousa. The most enjoyable part for us was the ending and the kind of magic that it seemed to be.
Brenna Johnson
Jan 26, 2014 Brenna Johnson rated it it was amazing
Now I want to see the famous ducks!
Dave Wilson
Dec 13, 2011 Dave Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: 544-advchldlit
A great read about how to use your imagination to overcome challenges. When Edward earns the right to have an orphan duck continue to accompany him to the hotel where he trains the duck to march along with other ducks who are welcome then he trains them how to swim in the hotel fountain. A feel good, entertaining story especially for ducks everywhere. Historical fiction, 2004
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
This fictional story was inspired by the actual Peabody Ducks. The Peabody Memphis (Hotel) has been featuring the Peabody Ducks since 1933. Polacco's spin on the origin of the ducks and illustrations are inspiring and fun. I especially enjoyed the scenes in which the Peabody staff help to keep John Philip Duck hidden.
Great story!! I love this author. This story is about a boy who finds a tiny little duck and takes the duck to work with him. The boy teaches the duck some tricks. The boy and his dad work at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN. I remember taking relatives to the Peabody to see the ducks.
Jillian Reed
Sep 27, 2012 Jillian Reed rated it it was amazing
A touching story about a dog who works in a hotel during the depression. He follows his dreams and becomes a duck master at the Peabody Hotel. The boy worked hard in order to accomplish his dream. Moral of the story, with a little determination, your dreams can come true.
Jul 17, 2008 Robin rated it liked it
Beautiful pictures-- like everything Polacco does.

I was at this hotel and saw the ducks in the fountain! But the story they tell there is different-- that the ducks were there as decoys for a hunting trip and were put in the fountain as a practical joke...
Apr 08, 2013 Carole rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-books-read
The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, is a real place and the tradition of the ducks is real, but the origin of this tradition is partially fictionalized. Patricia Polacco is a very talented storyteller and illustrator. This story is another example of her talent.
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