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The Story About Ping
by Marjorie Flack, Kurt Wiese (Illustrator)
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List Price: $5.99
Our Price: $4.79
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Reading level: Baby-Preschool
Paperback - 36 pages (August 1977)
Viking Pr; ISBN: 0140502416 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.17 x 8.86 x 7.15
Other Editions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette

Amazon.com Sales Rank: 4,566
Avg. Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 8

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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)

A childhood classic. "Kurt Wiese and Marjorie Flack have created in Ping a duckling of great individuality against a background (the Yangtze River) that has both accuracy and charm."--The New York Times. Full-color illustrations.

A little duck finds adventure on the Yangtze River when he is too late to board his master's houseboat one evening. --This text refers to the audio cassette edition of this title

A childhood classic. "Kurt Wiese and Marjorie Flack have created in Ping a duckling of great individuality against a background (the Yangtze River) that has both accuracy and charm".--The New York Times. Full-color illustrations. --This text refers to the school & library binding edition of this title

Card catalog description
A little duck finds adventure on the Yangtze River when he is too late to board his master's houseboat one evening.

Customer Comments
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars Number of Reviews: 8

Elisa Firth (elisaf@seanet.com) from Seattle , April 14, 1999 5 out of 5 stars
Ping: A Childhood Icon of Terror and Suspense
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 incomible and hostile world. Pun 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!

A reader from E.Lansing, Michigan, USA , March 24, 1999 5 out of 5 stars
Ping seen before and after adulthood
Ping is a subtle book giving to each reader of all ages something unique. As a child I fondly identified with Ping's travails, seeing persistence and integrity as virtues to uphold.

Coming back to this classical work as a Systems Adminstrator I was once again taught about the testing and selflessness of the ping program and am reminded of the complex Oriental philosophies that must be inherent in both the Unix program and the story. Namely we see a harmonious unity in Ping's journey and return like that of the mysterious Tao as seen in the Tao Te Ching importantly an ellusion to Nietsche's philosophy of the 'Eternal return' seen in our humble hero Ping's journey.

Presently I serenely understand that upon sending out a packet to an Unknown (in this case a host) I may learn more about not only myself in relationship with Other (the Internet) but also and more importantly who I am to thise Other.

Those who have tried network diagnostics will no doubt feel a previously unfelt empathy with Ping and will want to learn more from this deceptively simple 'children's book'.

This book is much like Piet On one level there is a simple moralistic message or truism, on another level we find secret codes sent to the 'Allies' when under the 'Nazi occupation'. For those involved in computers it is useful to gain the perspective of the humble applications that do one's bidding, sometimes under duress. For parents wishing to instill virtues in their child's personality, this book is a must.

While there is no immediate need to rush out and get this book, it certainly deserves a reserved place in any Systems Adminstrator's bookshelf.

Todd Rossman todd@alkhemy.com

A reader from Compton, USA , March 12, 1999 5 out of 5 stars
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.

The book avoids many of the cliches one might expect. For example, with a story set on a river, the authors might have sunk to using that tired old Buy This Book

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.

A reader from Houston, TX , November 25, 1998 5 out of 5 stars
A wonderful, timeless story of family, adventure and home
I can remember Captain Kangaroo reading this book on his TV show and that was probably 30 years ago. A very delightful book which allows children to understand responsiblity, adventure, family and home. The story is simple and uncluttered, a small duck who decides to avoid the punishment due the last duck to board the boat each night - a whack on the back, by hiding and not boarding with the rest of the ducks.

Ping has his adventure and returns to the boat and his family, wiser yet innocent. Great story to share with your children. --This text refers to the school & library binding edition of this title

llfflorida@aol.com from Grand Rapids, Michigan , March 24, 1998 5 out of 5 stars
Ping will capitvate young readers with his dilemma.
Young Ping learns that often it's better to take your punishment than to try to outrun it. His adventures take him through a loney, sometimes frightening day on the Yangze river as he searches for the "wise-eyed" boat where he lives with his family. The beautifullly drawn illustrations, "fun to say" words", and repition will make this book one your kids will want to come back to over and over again. --This text refers to the school & library binding edition of this title

arrius@hotmail.com from Pennsylvania, USA , March 19, 1998 5 out of 5 stars
A Story About the Importance of Home
This is a delightful little story of the misadventures of a duckling named Ping. Ping hides in the weeds along the banks of the Yangtze River rather than face the spank the last duck to board his houseboat at dusk receives (I have always wondered _why_ the last duck gets spanked). The story is beautifully illustrated, and the poignant scene of Ping looking after his home as it sales away stands out, as does Ping nestled safely with his family and friends on the very last page.

This tale underscores the importance of home, of family and of belonging. It is a good bed-time book with its happy ending after Ping's narrow escape from becoming a meal. Highly recommended. --This text refers to the school & library binding edition of this title

A reader from Detroit, Michigan , December 15, 1997 5 out of 5 stars
Recommended reading for everyone.
This is a very warm book which evokes subtle emotions. The art work is rather simple, but is extremely life like in other ways. I read it as a young boy, and remembered it. As an adult the story has new meaning. Though it may have been written for children, I recommend it for every adult. Read the book, andyou will know why.

A reader from brunswick, jersey , November 30, 1997 5 out of 5 stars
Love It
I grew up on Ping and I love it still. I'm 21 now and buying it for every friend with a kid. Its clean, its fun, and its just great. --This text refers to the school & library binding edition of this title

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