Cover image for John Philip Duck
Title:
John Philip Duck
Author:
Polacco, Patricia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Summary:
During the Depression, a young Memphis boy trains his pet duck to do tricks in the fountain of a grand hotel and ends up becoming the Duck Master of the Peabody Hotel.
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.3 0.5 79229.
ISBN:
9780399242625
Format :
Book

Available:*

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J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
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J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
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On Order

Summary

Summary

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.

But one day the hotel owner finds John Philip in his lobby fountain and he is NOT amused. Until Edward has an idea. What if he can train a bevy of ducks to march along behind him, swim in the fountain all day, and then march out every evening? If Edward can do that, the owner tells him, he and John Philip will have a permanent place at the Peabody. But can it really be done?

Based on the real-life tradition of the Hotel Peabody Ducks, Patricia Polacco's latest picture book is one of her most charming to date.


Author Notes

Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan on July 11, 1944. She attended Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, California before heading off to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then Laney Community College in Oakland. She then set off for Monash University, Mulgrave, Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia where she received a Ph.D in Art History, Emphasis on Iconography.

After college, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. She didn't start writing children's books until she was 41 years old. She began writing down the stories that were in her head, and was then encouraged to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. There she learned how to put together a dummy and get a story into the form of a children's picture book. Her mother paid for a trip to New York, where the two visited 16 publishers in one week. She submitted everything she had to more than one house. By the time she returned home the following week, she had sold just about everything.

Polacco has won the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Keeping Quilt, and the 1989 International Reading Association Award for Rechenka's Eggs. She was inducted into the Author's Hall of Fame by the Santa Clara Reading Council in 1990, and received the Commonwealth Club of California's Recognition of Excellence that same year for Babushka's Doll, and again in 1992 for Chicken Sunday. She also won the Golden Kite Award for Illustration from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Chicken Sunday in 1992, as well as the Boston Area Educators for Social Responsibility Children's Literature and Social Responsibility Award. In 1993, she won the Jane Adams Peace Assoc. and Women's Intl. League for Peace and Freedom Honor award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice. She has won Parent's Choice Honors for Some Birthday in 1991, the video Dream Keeper in 1997 and Thank You Mr. Falker in 1998. In 1996, she won the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature. Her titles The Art of Miss. Chew and The Blessing Cup made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 2. This charmer, loosely based on actual events, tells the story of an African American boy who trains a wild duck to perform to John Philip Sousa marches. Edward lives on a farm near Memphis, but during the week he stays at the Peabody Hotel, where he works with his dad. When he finds a duckling on the family farm, he convinces his father to let the creature stay with them at the hotel. The whole staff comes to love the duckling, and everyone helps Edward keep his pet hidden from Mr. Schutt, the gruff hotel manager. Of course, Mr. Schutt eventually finds out, but his anger turns to delight when Edward shows him how he has trained the duck to perform tricks to Sousa's music. Polacco's beautifully rendered watercolor-and-pencil illustrations contrast the rural setting with the posh hotel and bring the lovable cast of characters to life. The rather lengthy text makes this a good choice for school-aged children, but the story's fast pace and its high-interest subject will hold the attention of older preschoolers as well. --Lauren Peterson Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Polacco (Thank You, Mr. Falker) adds another feather to her picture-book cap with this fictionalized look at how a lobby fountain at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn., famously became home to a group of performing ducks. During the Depression, young Edward finds work with his father on the Peabody staff. Though he knows it's against the rules, Edward keeps a pet duckling at the hotel, where he teaches his web-footed friend to march to John Philip Sousa music. Almost all the hotel employees collude with him, but the strict general manager, Mr. Schutt, eventually discovers the secret and ends up challenging Edward to train a whole group of ducks to be a tourist attraction. Edward, more than up to the task, soon establishes himself as the hotel's first "official Duckmaster," a position that the real-life Edward Pembroke held for more than 50 years. Polacco once again taps her talent for weaving threads of history and family stories (this time, someone else's) into an appealing and enlightening package. With its carefully chosen, subtly phrased details, the well-paced tale offers a distinct snapshot of a particular time and place. The artist's signature gouache-and-pencil compositions-a dusty, humble Tennessee farm; the neatly appointed hotel fountain and tables set for tea; proud parading ducks- encourage readers to explore an entertaining and enduring tradition. Ages 5-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-Every morning at 11 o'clock a group of ducks exits an elevator and enters the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN. They parade on a red carpet to a fountain in step to a John Philip Sousa march, led by a uniformed Duckmaster. They swim there all day and then return to their rooftop home. The duck march began during the Depression and continues to this day. Using these basic facts and filling in the gaps with her considerable imagination, Polacco chronicles the story of Edward Pembroke, the first Peabody Duckmaster, who finds an orphaned duckling, takes him to work with him, and, with patience, gentleness, and love, teaches him tricks, eventually impressing the hotel manager. This is Polacco at the height of her form in terms of both text and illustration. The story moves smoothly from start to finish and has a refreshing air of innocence. The artwork is simply beautiful as the artist orchestrates a harmonious symphony of color. The facial expressions are priceless. It is impossible not to smile as little John Philip Duck dances and cavorts throughout. This book is a winner in every way.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.