Read The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein Henry Cole Online


The Barnes & Noble ReviewLet's just say that Elmer's not your run-of-the-mill duck. He likes to decorate cookies, enjoys building sand castles instead of forts, and would rather put on puppet shows than play sports. Being different is fine for sweet Elmer -- he's as happy as a duck in water doing everything he loves. So what's the problem? Papa Duck and the other guysThe Barnes & Noble ReviewLet's just say that Elmer's not your run-of-the-mill duck. He likes to decorate cookies, enjoys building sand castles instead of forts, and would rather put on puppet shows than play sports. Being different is fine for sweet Elmer -- he's as happy as a duck in water doing everything he loves. So what's the problem? Papa Duck and the other guys just don't understand. Papa tries to teach Elmer to play baseball, but the results are simply disastrous for the unathletic duckling. That night, Elmer overhears Papa saying that the flock is calling his son a sissy, and he turns to Mama for some quality reassurance. After school the next day, Elmer suffers some tormenting from an enormous bully and flees instead of fighting, only to hear more scathing words from his embarrassed father. A dejected Elmer decides that his only option is to run away from home. Later in the forest, he's horrified to see that his father has been shot while the flock is heading south, but Elmer doesn't leave Papa to die -- he hoists him on his back, carries him home, and cares for him the whole winter! Not only does Papa get better; he learns during his recovery that Elmer is a brave little duck whose courage is something to be admired.Noted playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein delivers a heartwarming story about diversity, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the Ugly Duckling. Lovable Elmer's story will make readers cheer, and his difference will help children recognize and appreciate the qualities that make them -- along with other people in their communities -- special. Henry Cole's tender yet hilarious illustrations are just the right touch for Elmer, who even sports a pink flowered backpack and heart-shaped sunglasses. Elmer is one extraordinary duck whose "sissyhood" is something to celebrate! (Matt Warner)...

Title : The Sissy Duckling
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781416903130
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 40 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Sissy Duckling Reviews

  • Jessica Brown
    2019-04-14 13:36

    I don't know, man. I think it's just shitty. All around shitty. This one was messed up. Poor Elmer doesn't conform to traditional gender roles, and gets called a sissy for it. He must escape bullies, only to find himself at home with a mother who tries to tell him he's special and defend him to his jerk of a dad who joins in on calling him a sissy and says that he's not his son...So Elmer runs away. His mom and family fly south for the winter, but his father is shot by a hunter. Elmer carries him back to a little home he has made in a tree and cares for him. Then when the ducks come back for spring, surprise! Papa is alive and Elmer helped him. Everyone loves Elmer now. Why does Elmer have to save his cruel father's life before his dad can accept him? Why does he have to show compassion above and beyond everyone else before people will think he is okay? Even his mom, who really loves him and tries to defend him all along, leaves for the winter without knowing where he is. It just reinforces this idea that if you're going to be different in any way, you have to go WAY above and beyond what's expected of others in every way-you have to tolerate the bullying and ostracism and still come out overly kindhearted and giving in order to get them to like you. Fuck that noise! People should be allowed to be people, flaws and all, and not be bullied for not conforming. At first, this book just made me sad, but the more I wrote in this review the more angry it made me. I intended to put it on a LGBT+ display, but I think that it's toxic and shouldn't be considered as helpful to the LGBT+ community, ESPECIALLY for little kids.

  • Halley Todd
    2019-03-27 16:33

    This story is an excellent tale about accepting one's self and others for what they are, which is perhaps an especially relevant topic to discuss with children due to the recent increase in bullying. Elmer is not like the other boy ducks. He likes to bake, paint, cook, and be creative. He does not like sports, and one day skips away from a baseball game. The other ducks call him a sissy, which infuriates his father who says some hateful things that cause Elmer to run away. However, when his father is shot by hunters, Elmer is able to save his life thanks to his own unique interests. The illustrations highlight Elmer, and help show how he is different. He is a spunky, cheerful guy, while the rest of the ducks are somber and look angry. The illustrations help to lighten the mood of the sometimes extremely serious subject matter. This book story will allow parents and children to discuss bullying, and why it is so hurtful. This book is recommended for children ages 5 to 8.

  • Tim Snell
    2019-04-17 16:41

    Genre: TraditionalCopyright: 2002Elmer the duck isn't exactly like the other boy ducks in the pond. In fact, he's nothing like the other boy ducks! Elmer enjoys doing the things he does and refuses to change, even when the others call him a sissy. Then something unexpected happens, and Elmer must make a decision that will affect him for the rest of his life."The Sissy Duckling" is a story that is full of great morals! It touches on being unique and not falling into specific "gender roles". It also touches on standing up for what you believe in and not succumbing to pressure. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to younger audiences.

  • Dolly
    2019-03-25 10:44

    This is an interesting story about being different and being accepted for those differences. The tale is an fit for young boys who are ostracized for not being manly or macho enough, but our girls empathized with Elmer, too. I think most children at one time or another feel different from everyone else and it helps to show that we can embrace our differences and be proud of our talents, even if it sets us apart from the crowd. The narrative is entertaining and the illustrations are colorful and complement the story nicely. We really enjoyed reading this story together and I think it would work well in schools, especially when discussing bullying.

  • Mira Domsky
    2019-03-30 17:47

    Too complicated for story time, but a really sweet book about a duckling named Elmer who doesn't like to do normal boy things. He does his own thing, and in the end, it works out just fine for him. I guess it's been challenged as a book that promotes homosexuality and nonstandard gender roles, and it could certainly be taken that way(which doesn't bother me in the slightest). But really, it's appeal is that it's a book about being different, and being different can be a good thing!

  • Aaron
    2019-04-08 09:43

    While I believe this book was created with the best of intentions I didn't like it at all. The titular character has to EARN his fathers love and approval by rescuing him instead of the father coming to realise that there was never anything wrong with his son in the first place.Also, I find the teasing sequences quite harsh. If this is being shown to a child who is suffering bullying because of unconventional gender display it could be quite upsetting.

  • Jennine
    2019-04-11 09:31

    A heartwarming tale of a young duck who acts differently than the other ducks and endures criticism because of his uniqueness. In the end Elmer is celebrated for his differences and courage. This would be a good book to read to spark a discussion about individuality.

  • Hannah Givens
    2019-04-10 17:42

    I was expecting something a lot more flip, but this was actually really good! More words-per-page to suit the slightly older kids who are experiencing bullying, and a good story too.

  • Jaeleen Parisi
    2019-04-12 17:44

    The Sissy Duckling written by Harvey Fierstein, is a fun and playful children's book that describes how Elmer the duck is different from the other many boy ducks. The other boy ducks like to play and build forts, but Elmer the duck likes to bake cakes. The book then refers to Elmer as a sissy because he does not participate in the typical activities that most boy ducks do, however as the book progresses, Elmer turns out to be the hero (do not want to reveal why due to spoilers) even though he is seen as a sissy. Overall, the book encourages children to accept each other and the special qualities they possess, but the situations in the book that may be considered questionable include the fact that Elmer is portrayed as gay and the word sissy is used to describe him. Using the word sissy as a label is looked down upon by many readers, and their is an undertone that Elmer is homosexual. Additionally, some dislike this book because of the prevalence of bullying in this children's book. Thus, some viewers may find this to be uncomfortable for some young readers, but personally I believe this is a great story with a great lesson: accepting others for who they are. In my own classroom, I would 100% use this book in my classroom because I believe this message is important and needs to heard even at a young age. Especially in this day in age, with the rise of differing sexual orientation, I believe this is a light way to bring this topic to light, but not going to in depth. Furthermore, the core of this book is accept others and this is such an important life lesson that all children at all ages need to know and implement in their life.

  • Sarah Hulet
    2019-04-09 10:35

    The Sissy Duckling is considered controversial because of the homosexual theme it conveys. Another reason it would be considered controversial because of the word Sissy. Sissy is a word that typically has a negative connotation, however in the book, it is viewed in a more positive way.Elmer is different from every other boy duck in the pond. I really liked that the author encouraged that kind of singularity. Elmer likes the way that he is and refuses to change his ideals and himself for the sake of everyone around him. Something unexpected happens, and Elmer has to make a choice that will forever affect him.I love the morals that "The Sissy Duckling" communicates. It touches on being unique and being able to be who and what you want to be. It also talks about not falling under specific gender roles and standing up for what you believe in. I really enjoyed this book, and I would definitely recommend this to younger audiences.

  • Sheila Ainsworth
    2019-04-10 12:45

    Like the story "Heather Has Two Mommies", the book "The Sissy Duckling" by Harvey Fierstein has a lead role named Elmer who is gay. In the story Elmer is called a sissy because of the way he dresses and acts. This book has proven to be controversial in different ways. The first is, that there are people who do not like books or topics about homosexuality. This is especially true when it comes to their children. In experience, if the parent does not like it then the child most likely will be encouraged to act the same way. The other way this book is controversial is because Elmer is a very stereotypical gay. There are many gay men who do not wear pink or act overly flamboyant but this does not mean they are any less gay, so they might be offended that that is what the book is putting off. I would not choose this book in my classroom because I believe there are other books who have a more straight forward and positive message to send to the children when they are learning about families.

  • Carolyn Andrew
    2019-04-18 09:37

    The book "The Sissy Duckling", follows the story of a male duckling, Elmer, who is different from other male ducklings. This book is controversial for its undertone and its use of the word "Sissy". Elmer is a duckling who likes to bake, while others like to make forts.I think that this book would be wonderful to use in a classroom. It encourages children not to name call and that our differences are what make us so wonderful. This book teaches lessons that teachers have taught for years such as, our differences make us great and bullying is never okay. I loved this book, it follows the challenges and the ending triumph of a duck who is different. It encourages kids to be who they are no matter what. It also teaches the very important lesson of be who you are, for children of all ages.

  • Juliann Strieter
    2019-04-03 17:40

    This text written by Harvey Fierstein is a highly rated book about identity and helping a duck named Elmer accept himself as "special". This book also fits within the genre of fantasy because of the talking animals embedded within the text. Elmer is a duck, not like the other boy ducklings. He loves to bake cakes while the other boy ducks like to play baseball. He is then called a "sissy". When his father becomes sick, Elmer expresses his special self in which his dad then recognizes him as a truly special duckling. Elmer realizes that he really is not that different, that there are many other ducks just like him. This is a great book that would help children learn about morals and acceptance of others. I could see this text for children ages 2nd-4th grade. Students can reflect on someone who they knew that was considered "different" and how they treated them or should treat them. I even see this book being appropriate for middle level students in a guidance class. This book could be used when talking about body changes or simply acceptance of others.

  • Emone Grant
    2019-03-20 14:37

    This is one of my favorite books which helps address LGBTQ books. This book is my favorite because it introduces the concept in not such an obvious way. A boy, Elmer, in the story who doesn't like all of the many things. Instead he likes to sew and nit and cook. He gets made fun of at school because he likes to do these things and sadly enough even his own father makes fun of him. His mother doesn't like the fact that his father teases him and calls him a sissy because she believes that everyone should be able to express themselves how they want. Well, the time of year came where all of the birds migrated and he did not because he felt that no one would miss him. A shooter shot at his dad and his dad fell from the sky. It was he who built a house and nursed his dad back to health. When all the other birds came back from the warmer area they praised him for being strong and not blending in with the rest of them. The pictures in the book were vivid and tagged along with the story at hand. As I was reading the story one of the things that I felt was a stereotype was that all guys must play sports. Some guys aren't a "sissy" and would still like to become male cheerleaders or something of that aspect, but they shouldn't be looked down because of it.

  • Aaron
    2019-04-05 11:41

    Elmer is different than most of the other ducklings ... he actually isn't into sports or most of the other things little boy ducks like. His mother is OK with it, but his dad has some serious concerns. Unfortunately, he is pretty vocal about it in front of Elmer. As you can imagine, Elmer's feelings are greatly hurt, and he ends up running away. That is not the end of the story, but I can say that Elmer gets a chance to prove that being different is not at all bad.This was a pretty interesting read for kids. It definitely is meant to provide some early exposure for those who might not gender conform, which is great since that often shows up at an early age. Even more broadly, it is a book about accepting people who are different. I do wonder if the message could have been a little bit more subtle in its presentation as it makes the story a little less interesting because the message is so overpowering in the book's overall focus. The book is also quite wordy, which would make it a challenge for those who are really young.Fierstein is a well-known actor, playwright and activist. His text is accompanied by some fun and colorful illustrations that capture the feel of each seen quite nicely.

  • Sivan N.
    2019-04-05 11:35

    This book is banned, and I can definitely see why. Having said that, I really enjoyed this book. There was a lot of detail in the writing and plot development, which was pretty surprising for a children's book. The drawings conveyed emotions really well, and each duck had a distinct look, especially Elmer (the main character). There were twists and turns and I actually couldn't predict the ending with this one.Despite all this praise, I probably wouldn't read this book with my kid. I think it would be a hard one for discussion and there are a lot of subtle developments that would have to be explained.But if you're older, pick up this book and read it in less than ten minutes! It's a quick fun read, and if you want to read it with your child then you can make that decision for yourself and your family.

  • Khadija F Collier McGee
    2019-04-19 14:58

    I bought this book because it was on the banned book boys and I enjoyed this story so much! It opened up a conversation about name calling and just be a use someone is different does not mean we should tease or make fun of them.

  • Leslie
    2019-04-11 11:28

    When working with students on understanding that diversity, this would be an outstanding book.

  • Reily Moen
    2019-03-27 16:56

    "The Sissy Ducking" is likely a controversial book due to the negative connotation of the word "sissy", and the persistent name-calling throughout the story. Elmer likes to do different activities than all of the other ducks, such as baking and building sand castles. Therefore the other ducks make fun of him because he is not like everybody else. Even Elmer's own dad didn't want to have anything to do with him because he thought Elmer was an embarrassment. The first portion of this story sends a very negative message because it seems to encourage name-calling and bullying, especially because students see an adult (papa duck) encouraging and agreeing with the name-calling.I would incorporate this book into my classroom due to the way the book ends. Elmer's dad is shot and wounded by hunters as he tried to fly south with the flock. But instead of leaving him to die, Elmer brings his dad to safety. Despite how cruel his dad had been to Elmer, going so far as to disown him, Elmer still treated him with kindness. He nursed his dad back to health and together they survived winter in the forest. Then, when winter ended, Elmer emphasized that he was still himself, "a big sissy and proud of it!" This teaches kids to be accepting of others regardless of how different they are from yourself. More importantly, it teaches kids to not change themselves just because they aren't the same as everyone else. Kids need to learn early on to embrace all of the things that make them unique, and this book does a good job of teaching that lesson.

  • Mary Popish
    2019-03-28 12:54

    Another banned children's book that I decided to read was The Sissy Duckling and I have to say that this book made me so very uncomfortable and I would never wanted this book in my classroom, and I would not read this book to my nieces. Elmer the duckling liked doing things that were not done by the other boy ducklings and because of this he is picked on by everyone including his own father. As I was growing up I was picked on a bullied because I was different so having a book that shows a child suffering that just makes me so unhappy. Even though this book ends with the Elmer being accepted it does not change the fact that the bullying was the main focus of the book. Another reason I would not feel comfortable reading this book to any little child is because this book shows a parent picking on his own child. To child parents are their protector and the two people in the world that a child knows will not judge them so to have a parent pick on his own child because he is not like all the other boys is not something I ever want kids to think their parents will do to them. Being different and getting bullied for it is something that all children fear will happen to them and to have a book that puts all of their fear on display I have no doubt will make them unhappy and even worried that what happened to Elmer will happen to them. I am glad this book is banned because now I don't have to worry about this book being in my classroom or even in my school.

  • Loyal
    2019-04-03 16:58

    A great book to learn that: you can be different, and that's okay! And to help kids learn to embrace the things that make them different. Its not necessarily for very little kids; the older ducklings bully Elmer pretty severely, and even his dad joins in the bullying. That's not to mention (view spoiler)[ his dad's encounter with the hunters (view spoiler)[. Overall a great little book to read, with positive, but more subtle, LGBTQ+ messages. (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]

  • Huysamen Engelbrecht
    2019-03-26 16:32

    Elmer's story is a fable that should be read to adults and kids alike, as is speaks to both parent and child about accepting something the is different than yourself or others. Fierstein opens with an apology to Hans Christian Anderson, as The Sissy Duckling is a clear homage to the original duckling story, but it is the story, grown-up, and dare I say it.. different.

  • Debbie Tanner
    2019-04-19 17:28

    This is a very sweet story about Elmer, who doesn't do everything like everyone else does. People, er, ducks are mean to him, but his mama reminds him that he is special. Elmer makes a choice to be kind, even at his own peril. A nice story about how there is a place for everyone.

  • Melissa Powers
    2019-04-20 16:45

    The Sissy Duckling is a book that can help redefine gender roles because Elmer is a not like the other boy ducklings.

  • Rana
    2019-03-31 11:31

    I liked this but the illustrations are ugly sorry. Why are people allowed to draw like that

  • Suzie
    2019-04-13 11:33

    I loved this book, and so did the boys.

  • Dina
    2019-03-30 14:31

    A sweet book for children about learning to accept who you are. Yes, this book can be used to teach about accepting gay children but ultimately the message rings true for all youngsters; don’t be afraid to be YOU!

  • One more, please!
    2019-04-09 09:33

    Elmer is not like the other duckling. Elmer likes to build sandcastles while the other boys play in forts, and he likes to put on a puppet show while the others play football. He has no interest in baseball despite his fathers prodding. One day, Elmer gets bullied on in school, chased home and overhears an argument between his father and his mother. His father shouts that Elmer and his sissy ways is no son of his. Hearing this, Elmer goes off to live by himself in the woods, until one day, his father is shot down by hunters and the only duck brave enough to save his father who is injured by the hunters, is Elmer. Over the long winter the father and son get to know each other and appreciate the other in a new way.I love this story and how it discusses differences and opens up dialogue with kids. Some of the story line seems a bit harsh for the age range but I think it is handled delicately enough and honestly, I find it is in this roughness that most imitates life itself.

  • Dev Singer
    2019-03-29 17:29

    I read this book for my Multicultural Resources for Diverse Communities class.Fierstein, H. (2002). The sissy duckling. Cole, H. (Illus.) New York: Simon & Schuster.Hardcover | $17.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-689-83466-7 | 40 unnumbered pages | Grades P-3 (“The Sissy Duckling”) - FictionWhat is a young boy—er, duck—to do when he’s different to the core, and the only person who seems to value him is his mother? Stay true to himself and prove his worth to the world, according to Harvey Fierstein.A Lambda Literary Award finalist (Naidoo, p. 106) based on an HBO animated special of the same name (“The Sissy Duckling”), The Sissy Duckling is a picture book which tells the story of a duckling named Elmer who isn’t like any of the other boy ducklings in his flock. He is happy building things and decorating cookies, not building forts or playing sports. Elmer’s classmates ridicule him and when his father declares that he is “no son of mine,” Elmer runs off to live on his own, using his skills to build his own home. After Elmer’s father is shot while trying to fly south for the winter, Elmer nurses his father back to health and the two ducks bond over the long months. When the other ducks return, Elmer and his father reemerge and the flock sees Elmer’s heroism and accepts him despite his differences. The Sissy Duckling brings up several social issues. One of these issues is bullying, as Elmer is taunted by his classmates and in one scene he has to run from the school bully who is threatening to beat him up. Tied into this is the issue of individuality, since it is Elmer’s differences that cause the bullying. Notably, Elmer does not give in to the bullying or his father’s pressure to fit in; instead, he stays true to himself and what makes him happy.The Sissy Duckling is an excellent pick for public libraries and school alike. When read at story time, The Sissy Duckling can foster discussion about bullying, tolerance, and individuality. Children who do not fit the gender norms will enjoy finding themselves reflected in Elmer, while other children will learn about difference in a positive way. This book will be particularly helpful for children whose parents don’t accept their personalities and try to change them, as it will give hope that someday their parents will change their minds.Naidoo, J. C. (2012). Rainbow family collections: Selecting and using children’s books with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer content. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.(n.d.) The sissy duckling. Simon & Schuster. Retrieved from

  • Sadie Tucker
    2019-04-02 13:32

    Recommended age range: K-grade 3 Elmer is a happy, go-lucky young duck. He enjoys creative and crafty endeavours, but detests sports. His mother is supportive and recognises him for the wonderful little duck that he is, but his father and classmates feel differently. He is bullied and eventually decides that he will not be accompanying the other ducks when they migrate south. He runs away and uses his crafty skills to make a cozy home in the woods. When his flock is attacked by hunters just as they begin their migration, Elmer is given an opportunity to prove his abilities and worth. This is a picture book most suitable to older preschoolers. The book is somewhat text heavy and some of its content is intense (although never graphic). Elmer’s father calling his child a sissy and the hunting scene that includes “ducks [falling] like autumn leaves from the sky” may be distressing to more sensitive audience members. While “The Sissy Duckling” opens the way for dialogue and discussion about gender roles and expected behaviour, it is also problematic. In fact, the story is rather reminiscent of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: A bullied and despised individual proves his usefulness and is thus accepted by his peers. The message presumably is that differences are good because they can come in handy. It would be far more powerful if the message was that being different is fine because we are all different in some way and, regardless, we all deserve to be true to ourselves.