I have really grown to love Patricia Polacco’s books. They are filled with her gorgeous illustrations and even the sad stories find a way to warm your heart. The three I’ve read today are all based on real people.

John Philip Duck is a fictional account of Edward Pembroke, the first Peabody Duckmaster. What is that? The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN has live ducks swimming in their lobby fountain. Edward Penbroke was the first man who worked with the ducks and trained them to be so special. I really hope to someday visit this hotel!


Ricky Jo and Little Heart is a true story of Worl War II that Johnnie Wallen told Polacco. After befriending a little girl from a war-ravaged village, whom he called Little Heart, Tucky Jo, as she called him, helped the entire village survive the war. Sadly, after evacuating the villagers, Johnnie thought he’d never see her again. Much later in life, when his health began to fail, Johnnie found that he had a guardian angel helping him get the best medical care, Nurse Zaballa–or as he had known her during the war, Little Heart.


Mr. Lincoln’s Way tells the story of a very cool principal finding a way to get through to the school bully, Mean Gene. Mr. Lincoln discovers that Gene has a great knowledge of birds and the two work together to make the school atrium a paradise for birds. They also discover together that Gene doesn’t really want to be racist like his father and has a kind heart. Polacco tells us at the end of the book that Gene grew up to be a fourth grade teacher, living up to his promise to be a good person.

I also brought home some Christmas and Hanukkah books by Polacco. We may have to discuss those out of season, but I’m not sure yet. 

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