Guji Guji

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Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Ward
Out of an egg that has rolled into Mother Duck's nest hatches a crocodile, Guji Guji, who happily grows up as a duck along with his "brothers" Crayon, Zebra and Moonlight and only slowly figures out how different he is -- and where his loyalty lies. The pictures are done in black, white, browns and grays, with just a few splashes of color (blue-nosed crocodiles!), but their quietness conceals a keen humor.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
As with Chen's On My Way to Buy Eggs, his muted ink-and-wash drawings of gray and brown makes this picture book look like an old classic. And, with its deft pacing and spare text, it shares the same virtues. An overlarge nut-brown egg lands in Mother Duck's nest of pure white ovoids, but "Mother Duck didn't notice. (She was reading.)" When the brown egg bursts open, "a rather odd-looking duckling" emerges, crying "Guji Guji." The scaly green fellow joins his feathered siblings Crayon, Zebra and Moonlight. To the mother's credit, she never remarks on Guji Guji's big snout or his reptilian tail. She loves "all her ducklings the same." On the opposite page, an untidy heap of three sleepy ducklings and one sleepy crocodile listen to Mother Duck read aloud. Then three bad crocodiles catch Guji Guji alone. They tell him that not only is he not a duck, he's supposed to be eating ducks. "I am not a bad crocodile," the hero says, making an experimental fierce face. "Of course, I'm not exactly a duck, either." Guji Guji hatches a wonderful plan to defeat the bad crocodiles, and the ducks declare him "duck hero of the day." Chen's story of love, acceptance and self-discovery gives every sign of becoming a well-worn favorite. Ages 5-9. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is one of the most inspiring, lovely, imaginative picture books I have seen in years. A strange egg appears in Mother Duck's nest. Suddenly she has four eggs. But she is reading and does not notice. When the eggs hatch, she gives names to the first three ducklings, but the last one says, "Guji, Guji" as he hatches, so that is his name. Mother Duck raises her children to do duck things—waddle, swim, and dive. It is not until three mean crocodiles notice Guji Guji's differences from his siblings, and tell him about these differences, that he realizes that he may not be a duck. But that's ridiculous—he swims like a duck, waddles like a duck, of course he is a duck! The three mean crocodiles have plans for the duck family but Guji Guji has plans of his own, and they do not include diving into the open mouths of three mean crocodiles. This book is so much fun to read that its lessons are absorbed painlessly: that "different-looking" on the outside is not important, and that what is in your heart matters more than looks. Highly recommended. 2003, Kane Miller, Ages 4 to adult.
—Judy Silverman
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-One day, an extra-large egg rolls right into Mother Duck's nest. She is busy reading and doesn't notice the new addition, but this lucky event will change her life. Her hatchlings include a yellow duckling; one with blue spots; another with brown stripes; and a rather unusual, crocodile-shaped youngster, named after his first words. Guji Guji grows bigger and stronger than his siblings (and more crocodilelike), but Mother loves all her offspring the same. When three duck-hungry crocodiles make fun of Guji Guji's ways and try to tempt him into betraying his family, he is put to the test. This beautifully written story has much to say about appreciating families and differences, and it will resonate with children long after the final page is turned. Chen's unique illustrations are compelling, down to the beautiful silhouette endpapers. The rich blues and earth tones and dramatic page layouts create moving scenes, but the quirky details and characters' expressions are hilarious. This charming spin on the ugly duckling theme is a must-have for any collection.-Julie Roach, Malden Public Library, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781929132676
  • Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.02 (w) x 10.98 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    You and your child will LOVE this "Crocoduck!" Sure to become a classic!

    It's rare that a story comes along with an unforgettable character. Guji Guji is probably my favorite children's picture book. I introduced it to my daughter at a young age (around two) but it's not until now (she is four) that she truly appreciates the story and illustrations. Being Eurasian, I really related to Guji Guji's plight and his desire to understand himself and yet to be part of a community and more importantly, a family. Chih-Yuan Chen masterfully and simply tells a story of acceptance and belonging through the absolutely adorable and heroic actions of a crocodile raised by ducks. My daughter comes back to this book again and again. This book deserves to be read to children all over the world!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2008

    Friendship and family...

    I teach preschool and stumbled across this title. I loved this story and shared it with my 3-5 year olds. It is a great story of doing the right thing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2006

    A Classic

    This will be a favorite of children and adults for years to come! It is simply written, yet it says so much. The illustrations are incredible. This book is a must have in the classroom!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2006

    Best Book Ever!!!

    The writing is a masterpiece and the pictures should be hung in an art gallery. These two elements blend together to make a masterful book for children

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2005

    Wonderful book!

    I love this book as does my four-year-old niece. The illustrations are beautiful. Daniel Pinkwater, who recommended the book on NPR, has wonderful tastes in children's literature.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2004

    what a great book

    This was the best book, it really was like a new classic with great values

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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