The Story About Ping

By Marjorie Flack
illustrated by Kurt Wiese

Originally published in 1933, The Story About Ping is one of the most beloved picture books ever published. Written by Marjorie Flack and illustrated by Kurt Wiese, the two created an endearing book that has maintained its popularity for over 80 years and continues to be included on recommended lists of classic picture books and "best" picture books. Always intrigued by the history of how books came to be, the decision to feature Ping came after learning Flack became fascinated with Pekin ducks while doing research for her book Angus and The Ducks. The ducks really do originate from China, are highly intelligent, and were known to live on houseboats with their master.

While Flack had the inspiration to create Ping and his adventure, she had no knowledge of life in China and so formed the collaboration with Wiese who had lived in China for several years and was able to create vivid images to communicate the exotic feel of life in a strange land for its original young readers.

The Story About PIng tells the story of a plucky little duck who lives on a houseboat on the Yangtze River. Ping's adventures begin one evening when he doesn't make it on to the boat in time and has to strike out on his own without the security of his large family. Young readers will share the excitement and eventual relief with Ping as he navigates his way back to the security of his home and family.

In this Issue

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The Little Engine That Could

by Watty Piper

illustrated by George and Doris Hauman

Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Can The Little Engine That Could make it to the top of the mountain? Rediscover this classic from 1930, with a message that is still relevant today. 

This story has been a part of our culture for over 80 years and has inspired many generations with its obvious theme of self-confidence. Whether we are encouraging kids to be better readers, writers, athletes, or lego builders, helping them to develop self confidence through encouragement and praise of their efforts is one of the most rewarding parts of being a parent or teacher. So enjoy this week's story and activities with the little engine and a classic that has inspired for over 80 years. 

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Zephyr Takes Flight

By Steve Light

The wonders of flight have fascinated mankind for generations. From soaring eagles to birds migrating in V-formations, we have all wanted to fly above the clouds. In our own little corner of the world, we are fascinated by flight on a smaller scale: hummingbirds and butterflies have been finding their way to our backyard butterfly bushes, coneflower, and lantana. Slowly but surely we are adding more plants to attract these creatures that enchant us with their graceful flights of fancy, as they stop on their journey from wherever they have been to wherever they are going. We hope they speak fondly of us when they arrive at their destination!

Our featured book this week is also a flight of fancy complete with flying pigs, a secret workshop, and an adventure to a magical land. Join our little heroine, Zephyr, as she does a triple loop-de-loop spectacular into a soaring imaginative adventure. 


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