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The Story About Ping

Last updated Sunday, September 5, 2010

Author: Marjorie Flack and Kurt Weise
Date of Publication: 1961
ISBN: 0670672238
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2010

Synopsis: The tale of a little duck alone on the Yangtze River, The Story About Ping is a sweet and funny book with wonderfully rich and colorful illustrations. On a day like any other, Ping sets off from the boat he calls home with his comically large family in search of "pleasant things to eat." On this particular day, he is accidentally left behind when the boat leaves. Undaunted, the little duck heads out onto the Yangtze in search of his family, only to find new friends and adventures--and a bit of peril--around every bend. The exceptional illustrations bring the lush Yangtze to life, from Ping's family to the trained fishing birds he finds himself among to the faithfully rendered boats and fishermen. Certainly intended to be read aloud, The Story About Ping deserves a place on every young reader's (or listener's) shelf. (from Amazon.com)

Note to readers:
•  Don’t forget the picture walk before you ask the before questions.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is the animal on the cover? (a duck)
•  What do you think the book is about? Who is Ping?
•  Where do you think this book takes place? (China)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Use the globe or map in the classroom and find the Yangtze River? Is this far away from Los Angeles?
•  What would you do if you were lost from your family? (tell a police officer)
•  Would you be scared if you were separated from your family?
•  What would you do if you found a duck?
•  What do you do when you get in trouble?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw your entire family including aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. For fun, have them draw their family as ducks—making themselves a different color.
•  Make and cut out a boat. Glue it on a piece of paper that has the Yangtze River drawn on it. Have them draw the ducks and the sun and the characters in the book.
•  Draw Ping and his family (mother, father, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncle). Draw each duck individually, and then cut them out. Using a piece of string, connect all the ducks together so that they all line up behind each other.

Special activities:
•  Play “Duck, Duck, Goose”— In this game, kids sit down in a circle facing each other. One person is "it" and walks around the circle. As they walk around, they tap people's heads and say whether they are a "duck" or a "goose". Once someone is the "goose" they get up and try to chase "it" around the circle. The goal is to tap that person before they are able sit down in the "goose's" spot. If the goose is not able to do this, they become "it" for the next round and play continues. If they do tap the "it" person, the person tagged has to sit in the center of the circle. Then the goose become it for the next round. The person in the middle can't leave until another person is tagged and they are replaced.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!