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Enslaved by Ducks Paperback – October 1, 2004


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Enslaved by Ducks + Kitty Cornered: How Frannie and Five Other Incorrigible Cats Seized Control of Our House and Made It Their Home + Fowl Weather
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; First Edition, First Printing edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565124502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565124509
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (365 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Knowing little about animals, Tarte and his wife naievely acquire Binky, an impish bunny, at an Easter bunny fair, little suspecting that it will soon dominate their lives and lead to a brigade of other winged and furred beasts. After Binky, they get a canary, then Ollie, an orange-chin pocket parrot, whom they return because he flings his water-logged food all over their floor and accosts them with calls and bites. Then they buy a more docile gray-cheek parakeet, which makes the Tartes realize they miss their raucous friend Ollie, whom they retrieve. Gluttons for punishment, the Tartes acquire a gender-confused African gray parrot named Stanley Sue, followed by ducks, geese, turkeys, parrots, starlings, more rabbits and cats. Every day brings an adventure or a tragedy (Ollie escapes; a duck gets eaten by a raccoon) to their Michigan country house. With dead-on character portraits, Tarte keeps readers laughing about unreliable pet store proprietors, a duck named Hector who doesn't like water, an amorous dove named Howard, a foster-mother goose, patient veterinarians and increasingly bewildered friends. Tarte has an ordinary-Joe voice that makes each chapter a true pleasure, while revealing a sophisticated vision of animals and their relationship to humans.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-A cast of characters listed in the front-along with all of the veterinarians consulted-helps to keep straight the bewildering number of animals, mostly avian and each with a personality of its own, that populates this amusing book. Newly married Michiganders Bob and Linda Tarte moved to the country per her desire, and soon she talked him into acquiring a rabbit to add to their two cats. Despite the bunny's bad attitude, one animal led to another, until there were more of them than you can shake a bird perch at. Tarte was sometimes hard-pressed to name them all, since they encompassed ducks, bunnies, cats, doves, canaries, turkeys, parrots, starlings, geese, and parakeets. While teens might not want to own any of these noisy and often bad-tempered beasts, reading about their foibles-and the foibles of the people from whom they were acquired-is great fun, thanks to the author's sly sense of humor and willingness to poke good-natured fun at himself, his wife, and their menagerie. Potential pet owners who think that caring for one or two animals would be a walk in the park will find this book extremely useful reading. In fact, they might have second thoughts about a trip to the pet store. Other readers will chuckle at the situations presented, and pet owners will no doubt identify with them.
Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Witty, well written, and laugh out loud funny!
Houndy
I am reading slowly as I know every time I pick it up it brightens my day, I laugh out loud every time !!!!
susano22
This book is a wonderful account of Bob Tarte's life with animals, including ducks, birds and rabbits.
Vanessa Birman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Cedric's Mom VINE VOICE on March 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Bob Tarte's Enslaved By Ducks is a laugh-out-loud funny, beautiful, and insightful book about how he and his wife Linda live with and care for their vast menagerie of animals in rural Michigan. This book was in the Staff Picks section of the bookstore and I'm so glad I plunked down the hardcover price. The entertaining and often touching tales of Bob's life with a seemingly endless number of animals brought lots of smiles to my face and even had me afraid to read this book in public. You never know when you're going to bust out laughing with this one, but I'd estimate that once on every page is a fairly good guess. If you've ever toyed with the idea of starting your own Noah's Ark, here's your reality slam. Don't get that third, fifth, or tenth pet without reading this book first!
It started innocently enough with a bunny named Binky. Being a bunny slave to two angelic/demonic lagomorphs myself, I found it perfectly fitting that his story should start with a bunny rabbit. Rabbits hypnotize their owners into believing that they must acquire more rabbits, and where it stops no one can say. There are animal tales aplenty here with a strong emphasis on the avian variety. Parrots, ducks, turkeys, geese, starlings, you name it. If birds are your fancy, you definitely don't want to miss this read.
Individuals who struggle with depression will also find a kindred spirit here, as Bob openly shares his experiences with depression and how the daily routine of caring for all his animals affected him for the better.
Every side of being a devoted pet owner is represented here, including the sadness and grief when a special pet dies or when pets suddenly abandon their posh digs for the call of the wild.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on June 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
Do you ever read a book and find yourself saying over and over again, 'I wish I wish I wish I had written this.' I wish I had written "Enslaved by Ducks" (well, I'd have to call it 'Enslaved by Cats.') It is both hilarious and touching: a sort of "Ring of Bright Water" as authored by Dave Barry; except it's not about otters. It stars the eponymous ducks, along with surly parrots, turkicidal turkeys, parrotophobic cats, starving baby starlings, duck-eating raccoons, woodwork-munching rabbits, and the occasional long-suffering veterinarian--I love the way this author lists all of his vets by name at the front of the book, along with hints about their practice: "prescriber of questionable ointments;" "doesn't do turkeys;" "'So you've been bad-mouthing our practice.'"

Author, Bob Tarte never meant to end up with a menagerie, but when he and his valiant wife, Linda moved to an old farmhouse near Lowell, Michigan (hold up your right hand and point vaguely at that sort of sinkhole in your palm, way beneath your ring finger), the inevitable occurred. Linda was an animal lover, and they now had lots of property and a barn.

Binky, the Dutch rabbit with no social skills was first. "Wouldn't it be fun to have a little animal hopping around the house," asked Linda, and after a long and futile (and funny) argument from the not-so-animal-loving Bob, in hopped their first tenant--and not into the drafty barn.

I used to think rabbits would be a cinch to own, until a friend of mine ended up with two from the local animal shelter. Bob made the same belated discovery, but by then his wife was on a roll.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Bob Tarte has eloquently captured the animal lover's viewpoint in this hilarious and touching book about coexisting with our furry and feathered friends. Initially beginning with one tyrannical rabbit, Binky, and eventually growing into a menagerie of rabbits, ducks, geese, turkeys, cats, parakeets, and assorted other creatures, Tarte relates all the joys and tribulations of being an animal lover. The relationships between the animals (especially the birds) are wonderfully recreated, as is the relationship between himself (and his wife) and all the animals. The joy of discovery when a new animal is brought into the fold (and the humorous exploits of accommodating all of them), the amazing scheduling impacts of all the animals on their lives, and the harsh reality of coping with the loss of a beloved animal are all poignantly told in a manner that makes it hard to put the book down.
I am a diehard animal lover, but my hat is off to the Tartes for the patience and love they show daily to their huge multi-specied zoo. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves animals!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Brian OMalley on November 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
?Enslaved by Ducks? is extremely funny. Funny books are a rarity. Bob Tarte joins the ranks of Bill Bryson and Ian Frazier as one of the very few writers who can elicit belly laughs not bookish titters. What sets ?Enslaved by Ducks? apart from other humorous works is that it does not rely on an unusual setting, celebrity, or wacky characters. Bob Tarte focuses on how truly hilarious the mundane can be. ?Enslaved by Ducks? is no mere mawkish animal book but an odyssey of a man whose enjoyment of life grows from talking to Muffin the Dog through a vacuum cleaner hose to accommodating a menagerie of creatures from many genus including hominids. It is an exquisite piece of writing.
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