Quackin’ About Books and Pittsburgh’s Giant Rubber Duck

So, the biggest thing (and I do mean that literally) that Pittsburghers are squawking about is the arrival of a Giant Rubber Duck making its first appearance in the United States

It’s coming here until October 26 as part of the Pittsburgh Festival of Firsts and will float around our three rivers. It is a very big deal, not only in size (the inflatable duck is 40-foot-tall and 30-foot-wide) but also in regards to some feathers ruffled around around town.

People are really, really excited about this – me included.

Why? Because it’s something to smile about, and in these times, we could use more things to grin at. Just the very thought of a rubber duck takes us back to what was hopefully a simpler time in our lives, when we were children.

So in honor of The Giant Rubber Duck’s arrival in Pittsburgh, I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite children’s books having to do with …what else? Ducks!

There are a plethora of picture books pertaining to our web-footed friends, but two immediately came to mind when I was thinking about this post. When I was a child, the Easter Bunny always left me one book in my basket. Not surprisingly, I was more excited about this than the candy. Two of my absolute favorites were Gertie the Duck by Nicholas P. Georgiady, Dagmar Wilson and Louis G. Romano. and Little Quack, by Ruth Woods. I probably got these from the Easter Bunny when I was 4 or 5. 

Gertie the DuckLittle Quack

Little Quack - newI’m not sure where Gertie has gone, which is a shame because she’s selling for $47.95 on Amazon. I love the book, but in these unemployed for 16 months/freelance days of mine, that’s a significant chunk of money.

I still have my copy of Little Quack, which seems to be in a new incarnation these days. My kids loved the series of Little Quack written by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Derek Anderson. In this series, this Little Quack plays hide-and-seek, makes a new friend, counts, takes a bath, goes to bed, and more.

Then, of course, there is Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, The Ugly Duckling. Can’t go wrong with this.

The Ugly Duckling

Duck for President

My kids were also fond of Duck for President by Doreen Cronin (and most of the Doreen Cronin books).

Peace Love and Baby DucksFor teen books pertaining to ducks, I’m up a river. All that is coming to mind is Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle, who is one of my daughter’s favorite authors. I don’t think this is about a duck, but hey – there’s a duck on the cover and I know she’s checked this out of the library several times. 

Street GangAnd this last one’s not a children’s book, but it’s impossible to think about rubber duckies without thinking of Ernie from Sesame Street, amiright? So, I’d be remiss without putting in a plug for Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street, by Michael Davis.

From my review of Street Gang,originally published 12/5/2009:

[It] pays homage to … a time when we were all a little more innocent, a little more trusting, and the world was full of sunny days and a community to help us sweep the clouds away.

While some may debate whether a 40-foot-tall duck is actually art or not (yeah, this is what we’re talking about in Pittsburgh today), that’s what I’m choosing to hang on to.

(video from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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  1. Pingback: Podcamp Pittsburgh 8: Books, Blogs, and the ‘Burgh Session Notes | melissa firman

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