The Sissy Duckling

Katelyn Miller

The book is called “The Sissy Duckling.” The author’s name is Harvey Fierstein. This book is full of pictures and words. This book is an excellent tale about accepting one’s self and others for what they are. The two major literary criticisms are the gender and the psychology. Here is the summary of the book…

In the book, the main character name is Elmer. He is not like the other boy ducks. He likes to bake, paint, cook and be creative. One day, his papa wants him to play baseball. Unfortunately, he does not like sports, and one day skips away from a baseball game. The other ducks called him a sissy. The mother explained sissy to Elmer. “Sissy is a cruel way of saying that you don’t do things the way others think you should.” Elmer doesn’t want to be special but, his mother believes that he will amaze his family after all. After the mother and son’s conversation, his father says the same hateful things about Elmer. Elmer hears his father and decides to leave his home. He finds a place to stay and it becomes his new home. Before the winter comes, the ducks will be going to the south for a warm place to stay but the hunters come and are shooting the ducks. Elmer’s Papa is shot by hunters but, Elmer saw and can save his life thanks to his own unique interests. His father realized that Elmer stays in a new place. In the next few days, Elmer makes fun activities to do during the winter season including cooking soup, drawing pictures, and playing checkers. Elmer’s mother arrives home from the warm place, they are reunited and Elmer takes his special in the family.

The story includes the psychology and gender. In the story, Papa expected his son, Elmer, to play baseball because he is a boy. However, he loves to cook, bake, and paint. I believe that Papa feels that girls love to cook, bake, and paint. While, the boys love to play sports, cards, and play at outside. I feel that Papa expected Elmer to do what boy should to do. This shows the psychology of gender. Before Papa goes to the warm place he called his son, sissy. He wanted him to play baseball or whatever boys do. After Papa shot by the hunter, he saw how his son, Elmer cares for his Papa. Elmer found the way to play checkers, draw pictures, and cook soup. Papa and Elmer have a good relationship. This part shows how the parents think that boys or girls should do. But, Papa found out about his son. He will love Elmer no matter what. Elmer was not so different, he always did remain special. This story shows that children have their own differences and they are not based on the genders interest.



3 thoughts on “The Sissy Duckling

  1. I have never heard of this book but I really am interested in it. This book has such an important message for children to learn at a young age. The message I got from your summery was that children (or ducks) shouldn’t worry about what they are “supposed” to do because of their gender. I come from a small town where a lot of the girls were tomboys because we always played outside and got messy and gender roles didn’t bother us. I learned that at an early age and I think that children these days should learn that too. Thank you for the share!
    -Chelsea Peters


    1. I think this book looks interesting, and I would love to read it for myself! I like how in the end his father accepts him. I think it sounds like a good book to read to kids if there’s an issue with bullying, so they see that it’s not right to call people (or ducks 😉 names)


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