The Story of Ping

by Marjorie Flack


To avoid being the last duck to return to the boat, Ping decides to hide. Will he find his own Wise-eyed boat or will he enjoy the adventure of being on his own?

Why I like this for a read aloud book:

*Fun look at another time and place
*Human (or duck in this case!) nature is the same regardless of time and place
*Timeless illustrations

Geography Fun

The story takes place in China. Find China on a map or globe. Find where YOU live. How far away are you from China?

Find the Yangtze River on this map.

Yangtze River Facts:

It is the longest river in Asia and the third longest river in the world.
It begins in the Himalayan Mountains which separate China from India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar.
It flows all the way to the East China Sea.
It is used for transportation of goods and people.
There was no bridge across it until 1957 and for years it was a dividing line between north and south China.
Lots of people live along this river. (And some people live ON the river in boats like Ping’s!)
It is so long that it has different names in different parts of China.

Family Fun

Ping lived on a boat with two wise eyes. Make your own boat with wise eyes.

If you have a compass and ruler, this can be an opportunity to show your listener how to use them. If you don’t, use a glass or other round object to trace around, and any straight edge.

I used half a piece of construction paper–6″ x 9″–and two sizes of glasses for my circles. One’s diameter was about 3 1/4″ and the other about 2 1/2″.  Trace the circles on either end of the paper. Use a straight edge to draw lines between the circles.
Cut it out. Cut a slit into each circle. Fold up the sides of the boat. Cross the slits over and glue. Fold the front edge and draw eyes on your boat. (Chinese boats of this time had eyes to “see” where they were going, to bring themselves and their crews back safely, and to scare off alligators and other dangers.)
If you want, you can add a canopy in the back and a plank for the ducks to walk up.

It will get soggy soon, but you can float your boat in a sink or the bathtub–or outside in the creek if you are lucky enough to have one nearby.

Reinforcement Fun

The Story of Ping was written in 1933. That’s almost 80 years ago!

Some things are different–Boy had a barrel on his back. What would a boy wear to help him float now?

Some things are the same–nobody wants to be singled out for being late. Why did Ping march up into the boat even though he knew he was late again?

What other things are the same or different?


Find this book at your local library or buy it here.

Personal note:

The doll in the cover picture is one my parents bought while living in Hankow, China where my father was stationed in 1948 with the Army Air Corps. Many years later my father studied China further while completing a master’s degree in International Affairs. I’m not sure how I ended up with the doll (since I have two older sisters), but I have always loved him and all things Asian! The pictures in The Story of Ping remind me of the pictures my parents have of China when they were there.