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The Sissy Ducklingby Harvey Fierstein
Synopses & Reviews
Elmer is not like the other boy ducklings. While they like to build forts, he loves to bake cakes. While they like to play baseball, he wants to put on the halftime show. Elmer is a great big sissy.
But when his father is wounded by a hunter's shot, Elmer proves that the biggest sissy can also be the greatest hero.
Acclaimed actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein has crafted a heartwarming story, based on his award-winning HBO animated special, about learning to embrace the special qualities we all possess. Henry Cole's gently humorous illustrations give it a new vitality. This is a book to share with all children, to help them understand that each one of them is unique and valuable.
"Actor and playwright Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy) turns a gimlet eye to Hans Christian Andersen in this ducky tale. Elmer, crowned by a wispy comb of feathers and wearing a pink backpack with daisies on it, is "one happy duckling doing all the things he loved to do," such as baking cookies and staging puppet shows. When Papa Duck, an imposing mallard, forces him to try baseball, Elmer promptly strikes out and heads for home, unfazed. Later, he hears his father complaining ('They all called him sissy! Now I'm the laughingstock of the whole flock') and endures threats from a school bully with a feathery flat-top and muscular chest. Elmer runs away and sets up housekeeping in a hollow tree, but comes to the rescue when his father gets shot by hunters and cannot fly south for the winter. Cole (Moosetache), assigned the daunting task of capturing Elmer's sensitive nature and the other ducks' bewilderment or scorn, keeps his zaniness in check. He makes a sympathetic hero of the skinny yellow nonconformist and suggests Elmer's wit in antic images of the duck kidding around with his convalescing dad. Fierstein handles serious and silly moments with aplomb, and shows Elmer staying true to his identity. In a campy, triumphant ending, the resourceful duckling loudly proclaims, "I am a big sissy and proud of it!" Ages 5-8." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Henry Cole is an award-winning illustrator whose quirky, sensitive illustrations have graced more than two dozen picture books, including Jack's Garden, which he also wrote; And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein; and Moosetache and Bad Boys, both by Margie Palatini. Henry lives in Washington, D.C.
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