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Farmer Duck Big Book (Candlewick Press Big Book) Paperback – September 2, 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A poor duck is overworked by a lazy farmer?until the duck's farm friends mete out their own brand of barnyard justice. "Young readers will flap for joy right along with the endearing web-footed hero," said PW in a starred review. Ages 3-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-- Waddell's waddler is a real winner. In all kinds of weather, this downtrodden duck hauls in the sheep, tends the hens, and does the housework as well. ```How goes the work?''' the farmer repeatedly asks. ```Quack,''' the duck constantly replies--until all the barnyard animals convene to help the exhausted servant exact revenge and oust the lazy lout. Hilarious art masterfully captures the expressions of the put-upon duck, the supportive cast, and the slovenly ergophobic who reads the newspaper and chomps on bonbons in bed. All the while, the use of subtle shading and light reflect the passing of time on the farm and the serenity of the English countryside. Bled double-page spreads burst with life and vitality in a tale that has undertones of Animal Farm and The Bremen Town Musicians . With its lilting, large-print text and satisying resolution, it's as perfect for beginning readers as it is for story hours. --Trev Jones, School Library Journal
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 360L (What's this?)
  • Series: Candlewick Press Big Book
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Us Big Book ed. edition (September 2, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564029646
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564029645
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 0.1 x 16 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,140,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 29, 2004
Format: Board book
Ladies and gentlemen, I demand an explanation. Would someone PLEASE take the time and effort to tell me exactly why it is that I had never heard of this book until the good people of the New York Public Library placed it on their, "100 Picture Books Every Child Should Know"??? Why isn't this book being handed out to every kindergartner that walks into school on their first day? Why isn't there a "Farmer Duck" Day where we all get to take off work and revel in the sublime pleasures of this text? And why, oh why oh why, was this book never recommended to me in any way, shape, or form? Ladies and gentlemen, I place the blame fully on a nation in which Madonna can create best-selling children's books because, according to her, there are NO good books for her kids (I'm having a hard time typing as I gag), while my beloved, "Farmer Duck" remains a small perfect gem in a sea of terrible literature. But I digress.
"Farmer Duck" follows the unlikely premise of a duck that runs a farm all by his lonesome. The actual farmer in charge of the place is a lazy no good so-and-so who would rather eat bon bons in bed than take the time to do any work. While the man relaxes in his shirtless luxury (occasionally shouting out a helpful, "How goes the work?") the duck cuts the wood, weeds the gardens, washes the dishes, irons the clothing, and pretty much does everything that needs doing. When at long last the duck grows, "sleepy and weepy and tired" (what a great way to describe any child that has gone too long without a nap, by the way), the other farm animals decide that enough is enough. Joining forces they run that rotten farmer out of town and set about all doing the chores equally with the duck in charge.
The plot is good. The illustrations are brilliant.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
even two weeks after I read them the story in their second grade class. Kids love it. It has all the entry points for beginning readers, and adults love it too--for similar reasons. I've had university faculty tell me that it's the Communist Manifesto for kids (remember the centrality of labor, organization, and consciousness), that it's a Trotskyist text (note the role of the Duck at the end) and that it's a classic of feminism (note the multiple voices that had to be considered to fashion the uprising). It's a classic, from whatever interpretation, because it's full of joy, resistance, and hope.
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Format: Hardcover
Fourteen years ago, as I read this simple, entertaining, and richly illustrated tale to my children, I'd have never imagined the literary and political controversy that has flared among Amazon reviewers.

*Farmer Duck* is just as inclined politically towards the Protestant Work Ethic as it is towards Socialism. The lesson in this short and simple tale is that lazy and unproductive people will eventually get their come-uppance. Personally, I find it has more of a `French Revolution' flavor but without the guillotine and the violence.

As I read their comments, I find some reviewers are reading a different book than I.

The farmer is portrayed as a lazy and unproductive human because he IS a lazy and unproductive human. He calls from his bed and chair "How goes the work?" rather than put his pants on and go outside like a proper supervisor to view the work in progress.

The animals chase the lazy farmer out of the farmhouse. They don't lay a feather on him. He doesn't resist to defend his 'rightful ownership'. He just runs away, coward that he is..

On the literary analysis level, let's keep things in context. The microcosm presented here is 'Farmer Duck', not *Animal Farm*. Plagiarism? Come on. Comparing the *Farmer Duck* 'philosophy' to *Animal Farm*'s is like comparing a pair of garden shears to a corn harvesting combine.

What makes *Farmer Duck* such a good tool is it's the kind of story that you as a parent can talk with your kids about. Ask them what they felt about the relationships between the farmer, duck, and the animals. Ask them how each character's behavior affected them.
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
I have loved this book since the first day I read it. Since my family and I live on a farm we have had lots of occasions to ask, "How goes the work?'. The proper answer, of course, is always "QUACK!" It has come to be a multi-generational (4) inside family joke. One of my granddaughters came upon a group of girls diligently studying the Russian language. Without thinking she asked, "How goes the work, girls?" She heard one girl say,"QUACK!" My granddaughter was so excited about that response that she screamed with delight! She said that was the first time anyone who wasn't a member of her family had known the "correct response" to that question. It is a very simple but lifetime-learning book in spite of its few pages. I am buying a copy of the book today for a man in my adult Sunday School class who, when I asked the class, "How goes the work?" was the only one with the right answer. He is going to get the Farmer Duck award.
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