Quackenstein Hatches a Family

( 3 )

Overview

Crack open this tale of family and fright, as cute as it is creepy. All the animals in the zoo have friends and family to play with and love. All of them, that is, except Quackenstein. Lonely and bitter in his ramshackle corner, he decides to adopt an egg. He cares for it diligently, waiting until the moment when it will hatch a baby duck of his own.

On a dark and stormy night, the egg hatches, Quackenstein cackles, and lightning strikes, but wait—what’s this? That baby’s not a ...

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Overview

Crack open this tale of family and fright, as cute as it is creepy. All the animals in the zoo have friends and family to play with and love. All of them, that is, except Quackenstein. Lonely and bitter in his ramshackle corner, he decides to adopt an egg. He cares for it diligently, waiting until the moment when it will hatch a baby duck of his own.

On a dark and stormy night, the egg hatches, Quackenstein cackles, and lightning strikes, but wait—what’s this? That baby’s not a duck! What will he do? Where can he hide? And will Quackenstein ever find someone (or something) to cuddle? Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen’s clever rhyming text is perfectly paired with cute and spooky art from Brian T. Jones.

"Jones gleefully uses every cliché in the book, from lurid lettering and backgrounds to effective use of silhouettes and shadows. Bardhan-Quallen, too, takes advantage of horror-movie tropes, but she also mixes in some instruction in the form of cumulative nouns for animals. The surprise twist at the end happily resolves Quack’s fatherless state." -Kirkus Reviews

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Quack the duck is grumpy. All the other animals in the zoo have someone to love and snuggle with, but Quack is alone. It doesn't seem to occur to him that the signs on his shack, "KEEP OUT ALL!! JUST LEAVE ME BE!" might account in part for his solitary status. One day he comes upon a basket of eggs with a sign that reads,"ORPHANED EGGS/HOMES NEEDED" and he decides to adopt one. He eagerly awaits its hatching, but when it does, he is horrified. What emerges is not the fuzzy duckling he had hoped for, but a red-eyed, sharp-clawed "monster." Quack runs away in terror, the "monster" in hot pursuit. Eventually it corners Quack in a cave and he fears the worst. When the monster says, "Hello, Dad," Quack's heart melts, and he and his son—a platypus—walk off, wing in paw. The idea that prospective adoptive parents would not only abandon, but would also be horrified when the child is not what they expect, or has a birth defect, creates a potentially hurtful scenario. The acrylic illustrations with touches of Photoshop feature murky blues and purples and are not likely to have a great deal of child appeal. Keiko Kaza's A Mother for Choco (Putnam, 1992) is an excellent antidote for the message this book sends.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810989733
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 688,413
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen visits schools to share her stories, and teaches writing. She lives in New Jersey with her three children. Visit her online at www.sudipta.com.

Brian T. Jones is a graduate of the Otis College of Art and Design whose work has appeared in the New Yorker. He lives in Pasadena, California. Visit him online at www.briantjones.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 25, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This author visited the school I worked at last year. I fell in love with her work on spot. She uses a wide range of words that can lead into discussions with your students. On the home front, I love to read this book to my daughter (nearly 2). Her rhymes just flow so nicely off of the tongue. I cannot wait to buy her whole collection.

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  • Posted October 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Stories for Children 5 star rating

    Synopsis: All the animals in the zoo have friends and family to play with and love. All of them, that is, except Quackenstein. Lonely and bitter in his ramshackled corner, he decides to adopt an egg.

    On a dark and stormy night, the egg hatches, Quackenstein cackles, and lighting strikes, but wait-what's this? That baby's not a duck! What will Quackenstein do? Where can he hide? And will he ever find someone (or something) to cuddle?

    Join Quackenstein, on his madcap romp through the habitats of otters, herons, hares, and more, races through the zoo after dark in this funny and sweet family tale. (took out as he and added commas, also took out a before dark)

    Overall thoughts: At first, I wasn't sure if I was going to get my five year old to sit down and read the book with me. She looked right at the cover and said, "I don't want to read that scary book." The funny thing is . . . the book cover isn't really all that scary (at least to this mother of three). However, I did finally get her to agree to read the book with me and her sister. At first, she still didn't know if she really liked the story, but in the end . . . my five year old was asking me to read it again. (added d to like)

    Quackenstein Hatches a Family is a great book to read on a cold night in front of the fireplace or even as a fun, somewhat scary story for Halloween. The illustrations cater to a child's imagination of scary things lurking around corners, however, the ending is light, funny and one you won't expect.

    With the mild frights, laugh-out-loud parody of a classic horror story, this charming (lower-case t in this) rhyming picture book will be one you and your child(ren) will want to read again and again.

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  • Posted October 16, 2010

    Highly Recommend

    I have four children ages 13, 11, and twins that are 7. The book is perfect in length, the graphics are amazing and so lifelike. The story was great for all ages to understand.
    Great job to all parties involved.

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