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The Story About Ping
by Marjorie Flack, Kurt Wiese

List Price: $5.99
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Category: Children's Books
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Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback - 32 pages (August 1977)
Viking Pr; ISBN: 0140502416 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.17 x 8.86 x 7.15

Other Editions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette Sales Rank: 6,298

Average Customer Rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars Based on 20 reviews. Write a review.
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Editorial Reviews
The tale of a little duck alone on the Yangtze River, The Story About Ping is a sweet and funny book with wonderfully rich and colorful illustrations. On a day like any other, Ping sets off from the boat he calls home with his comically large family in search of "pleasant things to eat." On this particular day, he is accidentally left behind when the boat leaves. Undaunted, the little duck heads out onto the Yangtze in search of his family, only to find new friends and adventures--and a bit of peril--around every bend.

The exceptional illustrations bring the lush Yangtze to life, from Ping's family to the trained fishing birds he finds himself among to the faithfully rendered boats and fishermen. Certainly intended to be read aloud, The Story About Ping deserves a place on every young reader's (or listener's) shelf. (Picture book)

Book Description
Since 1933, The Story About Ping has captivated generations of readers, but never before has it been available in a mass-market paperback format. No one can deny the appeal of the book's hero, Ping, the spirited little duck who lives on a boat on the Yangtze River. Ping's misadventures one night while exploring the world around his home form the basis of this timeless classic, which is brought to life by Kurt Wiese's warm and poignant illustrations.

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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful:

5 of 5 stars Ping: A Childhood Icon of Terror and Suspense, April 14, 1999
Reviewer: Elisa Firth ( from Seattle

Am I the only child in America who was terrified by The Story About Ping? From the Wise Eyed Boat, whose stern and piercing gaze seemed darkly malevolent, to the crowded Yangtze, the illustrations spoke of an incomprehensible and hostile world. Punishment was certain; even if every duck behaved perfectly, someone was certain to get spanked. And the building tension as the sun moved closer and closer to the horizon still has the power to raise a chill. I understand that my reaction to the book is extreme, but if your child is prone to guilt, read The Runaway Bunny instead!

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3605 of 3684 people found the following review helpful:

5 of 5 stars Ping! I love that duck!, January 25, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from El Segundo

PING! The magic duck!

Using deft allegory, the authors have provided an insightful and intuitive explanation of one of Unix's most venerable networking utilities. Even more stunning is that they were clearly working with a very early beta of the program, as their book first appeared in 1933, years (decades!) before the operating system and network infrastructure were finalized.

The book describes networking in terms even a child could understand, choosing to anthropomorphize the underlying packet structure. The ping packet is described as a duck, who, with other packets (more ducks), spends a certain period of time on the host machine (the wise-eyed boat). At the same time each day (I suspect this is scheduled under cron), the little packets (ducks) exit the host (boat) by way of a bridge (a bridge). From the bridge, the packets travel onto the internet (here embodied by the Yangtze River).

The title character -- er, packet, is called Ping. Ping meanders around the river before being received by another host (another boat). He spends a brief time on the other boat, but eventually returns to his original host machine (the wise-eyed boat) somewhat the worse for wear.

If you need a good, high-level overview of the ping utility, this is the book. I can't recommend it for most managers, as the technical aspects may be too overwhelming and the basic concepts too daunting.

Problems With This Book

As good as it is, The Story About Ping is not without its faults. There is no index, and though the ping(8) man pages cover the command line options well enough, some review of them seems to be in order. Likewise, in a book solely about Ping, I would have expected a more detailed overview of the ICMP packet structure.

But even with these problems, The Story About Ping has earned a place on my bookshelf, right between Stevens' Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment, and my dog-eared copy of Dante's seminal work on MS Windows, Inferno. Who can read that passage on the Windows API ("Obscure, profound it was, and nebulous, So that by fixing on its depths my sight -- Nothing whatever I discerned therein."), without shaking their head with deep understanding. But I digress. --This text refers to the School & Library Binding edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

5 of 5 stars A classic story from old China., May 3, 2001
Top 1000 Reviewer Reviewer: mlplayfair (see more about me) from Kent, OH USA

This simple story of a curious duck has an easy moral lesson similar to "there's no place like home." It's really best when read aloud to children. I have a little yellow toy duck that quacks when you hit it. I set it on my lap as I start the story and it immediately makes the story more focused for the kids. When I get to the part of the story where Ping gets caught by the boy, I hit the duck and he quacks and quacks. The kids love it! This is the story they'll remember. One of my favorites.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

5 of 5 stars A sweet, charming children's story, March 8, 2001
Reviewer: pspa (see more about me) from Boston, MA USA

The touching tale of a young, adventurous duck named Ping who waits too long for his master's call one afternoon, and rather than go back to his houseboat and accept the spank on the back for being the last duck to return, he goes off on a frolic and almost ends up as a duck dinner. It all works out with a happy ending, as the little boy who caught him ends up setting him free, defying his parents' wishes. My kids really loved this one, especially the illustrations, and while I had two concerns (the spank Ping gets at the end and the thought that the Chinese characters were perhaps portrayed a bit rascistly), I think they were probably overreactions. --This text refers to the School & Library Binding edition.

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