John Philip Duck

by Patricia Polacco

Hardcover, 2004



Call number




Philomel Books (2004), Edition: Illustrated, 48 pages


During the Depression, a young Memphis boy trains his pet duck to do tricks in the fountain of a grand hotel and ends up becoming the Duck Master of the Peabody Hotel.

User reviews

LibraryThing member mrsarey
A cute story about some ducks in a hotel.
LibraryThing member pamelasmith
Grades K-6; Teachers are the key to success.
LibraryThing member wortklauberlein
The usual entrancing drawings by Patricia Polacco, and a charming real-life story of a Memphis hotel with resident ducks, is marred by fictionalization of the origins of the ducks and portraits of bellhops plus dialogue that come too close to the racial portrayals of the early 20th century to be
Show More
comfortable for a modern reader.
Show Less
LibraryThing member rebecca401
Edward and his father work at the famous Peabody Hotel during the week. Edward brings his pet duck to reside at the hotel with him, but he has to be careful the manager, Mr. Schutt, doesn't discover it. He teaches the duck to march to the John Philip Sousa March, and he teaches it tricks. Can he
Show More
hide his talented duck forever? And what will happen if Mr. Schutt discovers it? This delightful tale is loosely based on the legend surrounding the ducks swimming in the fountain of the Peabody Hotel.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Jill.Barrington
Living on his family's farm, a boy finds a ducklling without a mother to tend to it, so he chooses to take care of the duck and trains the duck to obey commands. The boy has a job at a hotel, and ends up having to bring the duckling with him, secretly. He keeps the duck a secret from his boss;
Show More
however, when his boss finds out that he has a duck he is unhappy, but when his boss finds out what the duck can do, he offers the boy a new position as a duck coordinator for hotel entertainment with more ducks.

The book would be a good start to a discussion about taking care of another living being, like a duckling, a baby, or a pet.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ktinney2315937
When Edward and his dad come home for the weekend he finds a duck in the back yard. He begs and pleads with his parents to let him take the duck with him to the hotel. His parents eventually agree with it, but he would have to make sure his manager didn't see it. Everyone in the hotel agrees to
Show More
help make sure the manager doesn't find out. That is until one day the manager, Mr. Schutt, finds John Philip Duck in the fountain in the lobby. When this happens Edward tells Mr. Schutt that he will train all of the ducks to walk to the fountain, stay in the fountain all day, then walk back up to where they stay. When Mr. Schutt saw that they could do this he said they could all stay.
Show Less
LibraryThing member JNino
John Philip Duck isn't an ordinary duck, he is able to keep a tune. Edward finds this special duck and notices that there is something special about him. When Edward starts working at a hotel, Edwards boss finds his pet duck floating in the lobby fountain and he is not very happy about this. He
Show More
tells Edward that the only way that his duck can stay there is if he is able to teach other ducks to march out of the fountain and back into the fountain daily. Cute book to teach students about perseverance and dedication.
Show Less
LibraryThing member mfink1
John Phillip is Edwards’s pet duck who can do different tricks. Every day Edward takes John Phillip to work at a big fancy hotel but knows he must keep him hidden. Then one day the hotel manager sees John Phillip in the fountain and is not amused, Edward thinks up of an idea that will hopefully
Show More
convince the owner to allow John Phillip in the hotel.
Show Less
LibraryThing member alyssanelson
This story is loosely based on the Peabody ducks in the Peabody hotel in Memphis, TN. It tells the story of a boy named Edward who loves the bass brand marches of John Philip Sousa. This story is based in the depression when he and his father worked in the same hotel in Memphis. He loved to dream
Show More
while doing chores in the field, and he especially loved watching the ducks fly. One day he found a duck in the field, and his family let him keep it. He brought the duck with him to work one day, and everyone who worked with him loved it. However, one day the duck got loose and the manager found him. He was going to throw the duck out, but Edward convinced him to keep him. He trained the ducks to march, and then he trained more ducks to march. He was able to keep them in the hotel, and he became the first ever duck master at the peabody hotel, marching to John Philip Sousa. This story could be used in the classroom when talking about the depression, or when doing a geography lesson. It is just a fun story to have around.
Show Less
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
When Edward Pembroke - a young African-American boy working with his father at the famous Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, during the Great Depression - finds an abandoned duckling during one of his weekends home on the family farm, he pleads to be allowed to keep his new anatine friend as a
Show More
pet. Reluctantly, his father agrees, and soon the entire staff at the Peabody is conspiring to keep the existence of John Philip Duck - named after Edward's hero, composer and conductor John Philip Sousa - a secret from hotel manager, Mr. Schutt. When the inevitable discovery comes, Edward makes a cases for allowing the duck to stay: as part of a trained act that will amuse hotel patrons.

A completely fictional story, based on a real-life circumstance - the Peabody Hotely in Memphis is indeed famous for its fountain ducks, which were originally trained by an Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer - John Philip Duck is an engaging book, with Polacco's trademark vivid illustrations. But although it is pleasant and entertaining, I didn't find it anywhere near the equal of some of this author/artist's other books, and would primarily recommended it to Polacco fans, or to children who are visiting the Peabody.
Show Less
LibraryThing member amarcu4
I really liked the book Polacco wrote. It did an amazing job with the character development with Edward. While I read the book I became more invested in the friendship between Edward and the duck, John. The friendship the two of them have is one students can learn from. The character traits Edward
Show More
has, loyalty and determination, help him stand his ground in saving John. This books development with characterization is a great way for students to learn how to be a good friend and traits they want in their relationships. When John almost gets taken away, Edward says "let me show you the trick Edward can do!" Even when times get rough, Edward steps up to protect his friend. Students can learn from this and model behavior off of Edward.
Show Less
LibraryThing member cvarela
John Philip Duck was inspired by the Peabody Ducks from the Peabody hotel in Memphis. Patricia Polacco had the opportunity to visit the hotel and stay there. She was amazed by the ducks living in the hotel's fountain, she decided to research and write a story about it. The book tells the story of a
Show More
little boy named Edward who worked at the hotel with his father during the Great Depression. The boy finds a baby duck and takes care of him and raises him to the point that he teaches him tricks. Everyone working in the hotel falls in love with the duck and helps to watch him so he is not discovered by the manager. The boy ends up working at the hotel for the rest of his lives and he dedicates himself to training ducks and spending time with his inseparable friend John Philip Duck.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Tessa.Johnson
This story has elements of friendship, persistence, and loyalty that students can relate to. Edward quickly befriends the ducks, and his father and the other hotel staff are friends and loyal to one another, so they work together to help Edward and protect John. When the duck faces danger, in the
Show More
form of the hotel manager, Edward steps up to defend his friend, with his father and hotel staff at his side. Edward agrees to train the other ducks and works hard to protect John and the other ducks. His persistence and loyalty pays off when he retires and John stay with him through retirement. He is surprised to find that the other ducks and their offspring also visit his farm during their annual migration time.
Show Less


Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Picture Book — 2007)
Show Me Readers Award (Nominee — 2007)


Original language


Physical description

11.25 inches


0399242627 / 9780399242625
Page: 0.2368 seconds