Saturday, 7 January 2012

Even though I knew the ending

I used to worry about Ping the duck.
I have no idea how many times my father patiently read the book to me. I know I could well and truly read it to myself by the time I was three but I could probably have recited it before that. It was one of the important books of my early childhood, one of the books that has somehow survived our travels. Even my mother did not dare give away "Ping". My brother and two sisters loved it too. My brother bought copies for his children as soon as they were old enough to have the book read to them.
If you do not know the book "The story about Ping" by Marjorie Flack you can download it here:
It was published in 1933. It is still available. Children still want to hear it and read it and they still worry about Ping. The Whirlwind would cry over it. The book still remains on her bookshelves and mine. I suspect she still reads it occasionally. I read it to a small child recently. He needed reassuring too. It does not matter in the least that the book was published almost eighty years ago.
Looking back on the book now I can understand why it was so important to me. Ping gets left behind on the Yangstse River. I got "left behind" in hospital for rather a long time. Ping "found" his family again - all those forty-two cousins! - and I "found" mine again. Ping gets spanked on his return and, in a sense, I got "spanked" on my return - but it was still good to be there.
The book is still everything a good picture book should be. The story line is simple and repetitive but there is drama, some anxiety and then a happy ending despite that spank on the back for being last. Ping was, and still is, familiar and comforting.
Australia is having a "National Year of Reading". For that reason I have decided to devote some blog space this year to books that matter to me. I make no apology for the fact that they will almost all be books for children. What matters is the story - and I want other people to enjoy the stories too.


Nicole MacDonald said...

I'm the same now with all my favorite books - even the ones I write *lol* And yay for awesome kids books!! I'm looking forward to those posts :)
Damsel in a Dirty Dress

widdershins said...

Keep 'em coming!

Miriam Drori said...

What a lovely story! It's the sort of children's story that has a lot to say to adults, too. The sort I enjoyed reading to my children.

Dolly said...

I jumped over from Novice Novelist when I saw the word "Ping". How I loved and still love that wonderful book. It is one of my favourite books of all time, and you have reminded me that I must buy a copy for my own bookshelves.

catdownunder said...

Thankyou all for the encouragement!