The Story About Ping – Marjorie Flack

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel:  0 points
Variety of characters: 1 point
Good story: 2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 0 points

So I really dig Ping. I also just wanted to write that sentence.

Seriously though, this book doesn’t score very highly, but I really enjoyed it. There is something about the rhythm of the language, and the luck and silliness of Ping, and the simple child-like logic of avoiding going home altogether in order to avoid being punished for being last that just tickled me.

No female characters of any note, but the story is actually set somewhere not Euro-centric, so it gets a point for that! And it’s not a ‘notable’ thing about the book – by which I mean, the story doesn’t rely on it – it just IS. It’s almost as if random animal stories can happen anywhere in the world! Who’da thunk it?

The story itself is simple enough. Ping, in order to avoid the smack he’ll get for being the last one home, avoids going home and ends up spending a day all alone on the river, having various adventures before being reunited with his family. The ducks act like ducks, which I like, and Ping is mischievous and silly, but not actually naughty or malicious.

The humans he encounters are remarkably balanced too – there is a kind boy, but for the most part they act pretty much like you’d expect fisher folk to act – they have busy lives that Ping passes through with minimal impact. None of Anderson’s overly burdensome morality in that other story about a lost duckling. 😉

Basically, it’s not particularly earth-shattering, but it’s a really neat little tale, and one which ticks a lot of my personal boxes.

What do you think? Have you read Ping? What do you think of it?

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