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
Harvey Fierstein is a four-time Tony Award-winning writer, actor, and gay-rights activist. In 1983, he received two Tonys for writing and starring in andlt;iandgt;Torch Song Trilogyandlt;/iandgt;, received a third Tony the following year for writing andlt;iandgt;La Cage aux Folle, andlt;/iandgt;and another in 2003 for Best Actor inandlt;iandgt; Hairsprayandlt;/iandgt;. Film audiences know him best for his scene-stealing antics in andlt;iandgt;Mrs. Doubtfireandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;Independence Dayandlt;/iandgt;, and he lent his trademark gravelly voice to Disneyand#8217;s andlt;iandgt;Mulanandlt;/iandgt; as Mulanand#8217;s soldier friend. He has made numerous TV appearances, including an Emmy-nominated appearance on andlt;iandgt;Cheersandlt;/iandgt; and on a classic episode of andlt;iandgt;The Simpsonsandlt;/iandgt; as Homerand#8217;s assistant, Karl. Children know him as the Easter Bunny from the Emmy-winning andlt;iandgt;Elmo Saves Christmasandlt;/iandgt;. Harvey also wrote the book for the play andlt;i andgt;Kinky Bootsandlt;/iandgt;, which won the 2013 Tony for Best Musical.Henry Cole has written and illustrated more than fifty books for children, includingandlt;iandgt; Big Bugandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;And Tango Makes Threeandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;Oink?andlt;/iandgt;, and andlt;iandgt;Little Bo in Franceandlt;/iandgt;. A former elementary school teacher, he now writes and paints full time.