#PPBF – The Story About Ping

Today is Friday – I have a children’s book review to add to the Perfect Picture Book resource list that author Susanna Leonard Hill is building on her blog. For more wonderful reviews from authors, educators and others who contributed today, please go here.

karate week 2 jan 2014

My grandson at his first karate class – wish I could focus so intently (and lift my leg that high).

The month has flown by with lots of picture book writing activity. I finished Meg Miller’s ReviMo (all about revising) and I’m currently participating in Shannon Abercrombie’s Start the Year off Write. There are several contest deadlines looming – Highlights Fiction Contest entries (Holiday theme) must be postmarked by January 31…and the contest being hosted by Rate Your Story ends on February 3rd. Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 is gearing up with a fully functioning Forum where you can post the 1st 250 words of a manuscript, as well as queries and pitches for critique. Emma Walton Hamilton has again graciously agreed to critique queries this month for Golden Book level members…if she isn’t able to get to all of them, Julie will complete the task. And, the lovely Mira Reisberg, talented teacher of Picture Book Academy and head of Hummingbird Literary, will be critiquing pitches in a free live webinar tonight at 6pm Pacific time. I’ve already completed my January 12×12 picture book draft and I’m furiously working to get all of those contest entries in on time. Thanks to my two wonderful critique groups, I’ve gotten great feedback and suggestions for revision and polishing. PLUS, I’m jumping up and down with excitement since February will be here before we know it and Susanna’s Making Picture Book Magic class will begin.

So now that you know how January is going for me, are you ready for a picture book review?

I’m a fan of classic picture books, although recently I’ve been reviewing mostly the newer ones as I also read them to help me in my picture book writing. Today, I’m reverting back to a tried and true classic that does not seem to be on the Perfect Picture Book list. It’s also a Perfect Picture Book for the upcoming Chinese New Year – although the China it depicts has changed drastically – the book was written OVER EIGHTY YEARS AGO!


The Story About Ping

Written by Marjorie Flack

Illustrated by Kurt Wiese

Publisher: Viking Press (1933)

Ages: 3 and up


Consequences, curiosity, independence

Opening Lines:

“Once upoon a time there was a beautiful young duck named Ping. Ping lived with his mother and his father and his two sisters and three brothers and eleven aunts and seven uncles and forty-two cousins. Their home was a boat with two wise eyes on the Yangtze River.”


Amazon: “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. ”


Why  I like this book:

  • Great read-aloud
  • Amazing illustrations
  • One of my top 10 classic picture book picks

How a parent can use this book:

  • Great read-aloud
  • Opportunity for discussion independence and curiosity and consequences for our actions

Related Activities:


ssduckpaperplatePhoto courtesy http://www.dltk-kids.com

You will need: One paper plate, construction paper, markers, scissors, glue.

  1. Cut out beak, eyes, feathers from construction paper and glue in place.
  2. Use markers to finish the features on the duck’s face.
  3. Exact instructions here: http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/birds-ducks.htm

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend! It’s been pretty cold – I plan to light the fireplace, make hot chocolate, read, write and relax. What are your plans?

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on January 24, 2014, in Book Review, Craft for kids, Goal-setting, Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Thank you friend for sharing this article quite interesting, hopefully we all get real happiness yamg rays began to warm our hearts and make the heart glad, when we can share it with sincere to each other. Affectionate greetings from Gede Prama 🙂 🙂


  2. This classic book certainly has stood the test of time — 80 yrs is remarkable. I love the story. And, your activities are so cute for kids. Nice break from winter.


  3. Some books are truly timeless. Thanks for reminding us on this wonderful book. I look forward to reading this at school to our first graders 🙂
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks


  4. Another old classic! Today is a PPBF of memories, and a reminder that some books are timeless.


  5. Wow – I remember watching Captain Kangaroo read this book on his show. It was my first intro to the culture. I will have to look for this again. Thanks, Vivian.


  6. Not the most original title, but it’s a classic I always liked!


    • You know, Dawn…that is a great observation. I think it was a lot easier (perhaps that is not the right word) to get published decades ago…if you look at a lot of children’s picture books (Lois Lenski for example), many are ultra-simple and the illustrations just would not cut it these days (not speaking of Ping, of course). There is so much more competition now…and kids are much more sophisticated and ‘jaded’…so we have books like The Day the Crayons Quit and 1,2,3 Versus A,B,C as concept books…not the simple color, ABC or counting books of old.


  7. One of my all-time favs – and my kids’ too! And you’re right about it being a terrific read-aloud!


  8. This sounds like a great book! I love the family! 😉


  9. I love those beautiful old covers. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this classic. Crossing fingers my library has it.


  10. Old books are my favorite find! I love the smells that come with them. This one is not in my library, but I’m familiar with it. It is a good one! Thanks for sharing!


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