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Bette Midler’s “The Tale of the Mandarin Duck: A Modern Fable”: Books Can Change Your Perspective


Reading Eagle
Books Can Change Your Perspective
By Kendal Rautzhan
Mar 21, 2021


“The Tale of the Mandarin Duck: A Modern Fable” by Bette Midler,
“The Tale of the Mandarin Duck: A Modern Fable” by Bette Midler, photographs by Michiko Kakutani, illustrated by Joana Avillez, Random House, 2021, 36 pages, $18.99 hardcover

“The Tale of the Mandarin Duck: A Modern Fable” by Bette Midler, photographs by Michiko Kakutani, illustrated by Joana Avillez, Random House, 2021, 36 pages, $18.99 hardcover

Sometimes we all need a change of attitude or perspective, a different idea or plan. Being flexible in this regard can lead to important, wonderful discoveries, and helping kids embrace this concept can be as easy as reading books that help illuminate this.

There is not just one way of looking at things. Help children discover the many sides of things; read.

“The Tale of the Mandarin Duck: A Modern Fable” by Bette Midler, photographs by Michiko Katutani, illustrated by Joana Avillez, Random House, 2021, 36 pages, $18.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 3 – 7.

Read yourself: age 6.

Not long ago, New York city was buzzing with all kinds of people doing different things, talking and laughing together and looking each other in the eye. One day, a new invention came into their lives — the cellphone. It didn’t take long for the cellphone to catch on, and in a very short time, people changed and “… were bent over the small screen in their hand … as if nothing else existed.” This focus went on until a miraculous thing happened that changed many people in the city — a Mandarin Duck came to town.

People crowded to see this exotic, beautiful duck. How did the duck get to New York City? Where had he come from? People took pictures with their cellphones, but when a kid in the crowd said she was going to watch the duck with her own two eyes, people followed her lead and put their phones down and watched long and hard. What followed was conversation with friends and strangers about how wonderful it was to see such a beautiful sight, and those conversations led to more conversations. Without knowing it, the Mandarin Duck had changed their lives.

Wonderful illustrations and gorgeous photographs perfectly complement “The Tale of the Mandarin Duck,” a delightful story about a true event that captures how seemingly small things can have profound effects on us all.

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