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The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks (Picture Puffins) Paperback – November 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - Preschool
  • Lexile Measure: 930L (What's this?)
  • Series: Picture Puffins
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140557393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140557398
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.5 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A beautiful mandarin duck is captured and caged by a greedy lord who wants to show off the bird's magnificent plumage. But the wild creature pines for his mate. When Yasuko, the kitchen maid, releases the bird against her lord's command, she and the one-eyed servant, Shozo, are sentenced to death. The grateful bird intends to return their kindness, but can he outsmart the cruel lord?

Winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Illustration, and a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year.

From Publishers Weekly

A one-eyed samurai is unjustly forced to be a servant in this Japanese folktale; PW praised Paterson's retelling as "rich with magic, compassion and love," and the Dillons' pastel and watercolor illustrations as "exquisite." Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Katherine Paterson has twice won both the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. She received the 1998 Hans Christian Andersen Medal as well as the 2006 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for the body of her work. An active promoter of reading and literacy, she lives with her husband, John, in Barre, Vermont. They have four children and seven grandchildren. Visit Katherine Paterson on her web site at www.terabithia.com

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
There's a pleasant realism about story, too.
wiredweird
This beautifully illustrated book and equally beautiful story is very moving.
BeatleBangs1964
I can't wait until my son is old enough to read this with him!
H. Bird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Diane V. Graff on March 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My granddaughter (11) and I have enjoyed this book emmensely and are re-reading it often. She loves tales of Japan and the beautiful illustrations. My husband and I lived in Japan for 2 years. This book's story has good moral principles and is an easy way to teach kind thoughtful behavior and the benefits of love and responsibility.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
This beautifully illustrated book and equally beautiful story is very moving. It is set in old Japan and is a look at Japanese history and culture.

It is the story of love; of being willing to take chances to protect another and about kindness rewarding many times over. It speaks to the ripple effect of how one single act of kindness, in this case freeing an imprisoned drake will be rewarded lovingly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is great to read to kids! It has suspense and it also shows kids how doing the right thing can seem bad, but soon you'll get something back. I liked the moral of the story and I like the way they illustarted it to look just like ancient Japan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Bird on July 18, 2005
Format: School & Library Binding Verified Purchase
I bought this for my nephew a few years back, and I looked through it before wrapping it. The story is interesting yet simple, and the illustrations are beautiful. It also provides a nice little glimpse into another culture, which is nice for homeschooling families. I can't wait until my son is old enough to read this with him!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This lovely book maeasures up to every standard one can reasonably expect. The artwork is skilled and enjoyable. The story has kindness, altruism, moral dilemma and resolution, reward, and a big touch of magic. There's a pleasant realism about story, too. It shows a number of details of Japanese life, in passing, to give a storybook kid views of a life [s]he might never have seen in person. And, although the words "happily ever after" never actually appear, the last page shows the young couple deep in their old age. The book, as a whole, meets every objective standard of what I like to see in a children's book.

For me, though, this book goes way beyond reasonable standards, well into the things I favor in a very personal and subjective way. I take immense pleasure ukiyo-e prints, the classical Japanese woodcut style that these modern artists imitate. I first saw the picture of the sleeping couple as a greeting card, and found it affectionate and romantic, with a tiny chaste hint of very grown-up love - that image led me to hunt this book down. The one-eyed samurai has meaning in my family, too. And the "madarin ducks" of the title, traditional symbols of fidelity, have a strong and affectionate significance for me for utterly personal reasons.

So I recommend this book to anyone with a read-to-me kid. It's very easy for anyone to like. For me, though, a striking set of coincidences make this a truly memorable work.

//wiredweird
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Format: Paperback
ISBN 0590449885 - Ironic that this book followed The Value of Honesty (ISBN 0916392368) in the pile - they go well together, both culturally and in the teaching-morals way.

A pair of ducks lived near a pond on land in the district of a cruel lord, who liked to surround himself with beautiful things, and disliked all things not beautiful. Among the things he'd come to dislike was Shozo, who had once been the lord's mightiest samurai. Shozo lost an eye in battle and was not handsome, but he was a compassionate man. When the lord saw the drake, the more attractively colored duck, he decided to take him home as a pet. In captivity, the duck withered and became ugly, missing his mate, so a maid set him free. The lord blamed Shozo, and punished him, but Shozo did not mind so much - he had fallen in love with the maid. Eventually ordered put to death, the pair are saved by mysterious Imperial messengers and live in peace, knowing that a burden is lighter when it is shared.

A superb book for kids, who will enjoy the story while learning about compassion and caring. The back of the book says ages 5-9; that's fairly accurate, but a lot of 5 year olds will need a bit of help to understand it. By the time the reader is 9, the few big words won't seem so intimidating.

- AnnaLovesBooks
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