Quack

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

David "Shady" Cook has selective mutism; he doesn't speak at school, although he will speak when just his family is present. He does have a best friend, Pouya, who has come to Canada with his mothers after living in a refugee camp. When the boys are out biking and save some ducklings from traffic, one accidentally gets brought home. Shady (so called because he wears sunglasses to deal with his anxiety) becomes attached to the animal, and his parents reluctantly agree to his therapist's idea to have Sven be an emotional support animal. In addition to the duckling who ends up being Svenrietta, Shady is lucky to have his big sister Manda and well as supportive and understanding school personnel. One Svenri starts coming to school, more and more students make connections with Shady. There's a lot of other things going on as well; there's a school dance, a Christmas play, and Manda's interest in joining a film club, even though watching Shady and Pouya takes up her afternoons. Told from alternate viewpoints, including that of Shady's former friend Pearl, we watch as Shady begins to make progress with Svenri at his side, but also how he is devastated when the duck goes missing. 

Strengths: An author's note describes Ms. Humphrey's own daughter's struggles with this particular form of anxiety, and talks about some other issues involved. It's good to see that Shady has a support network, a good friend, and an understanding sister. Manda's own struggles are interesting to read. The school activities are realistic and show the different difficulties with which Shady has to deal. He occasionally communicates through black out poetry, which some readers will find intriguing. 
Weaknesses: I would have been interested to see how the school was so quickly convinced to have Svenri in the building; we have had support dogs, but they go through a vigorous training process. Svenri is trained a bit, and seems to do well in the classroom, but I think I was thrown by the fact that they found her in the wild.
What I really think: This is a bit young for my students, so I may pass. We are certainly seeing a lot of books dealing with all manner of anxiety issues, so this may be helpful to students who want to understand other viewpoints. 

When I was in second grade, there was a girl, Judy, with selective mutism. I was a fairly kind child and tried to be friends with her, but it was very hard. Elementary school children don't necessarily have the ability to deal with people who don't talk to them.
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I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book tells the story of Shady, a young boy with selective mutism who’ finds solace in a duck he and his friend bring home. Shady’s relationship with the duck, who quickly earns the title of ‘therapy duck,’  becomes an incredible one right away, and its effect on Shady is immediately apparent. When Shady’s duck Svenrietta goes missing, however, it quickly becomes a crisis.

This book dis an excellent job dealing with selective mutism and the impact therapy animals can have on anxiety. Is an important addition to the field and I think middle grade readers will enjoy it.
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What a delightful way to show what a sever form of anxiety can do to a child, and how an emotional support duck can help him and his best friend, and frankly, many of the children of the 5th grade, with coping.

Shady can't talk. But he has other ways to express himself, as long as they don't draw attention to him. However, having an emotional support duck allows him to have a way to express himself, and draw attention to his duck, that appears to work well for him.

Delightful story told by his sister, his best friend, and his form best friend who has now become a bit of a bully and a mean girl (tm).

And Svenrietta is a fun duck, that helps others as well. And dances. And loves to listen to others read stories. Until...

Yes, the "until" even made me cry.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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Quack is the story of Shady, his very supportive family and friends and an emotional support duck.

 Pouya is a kind hearted, bold boy from Iran with two moms. Shady has an anxiety disorder called selective mutism which means that he doesn’t talk to anyone outside of his family. The two are best friends. 

They find baby ducks while riding bikes one day. When one of the ducklings accidentally gets taken home with the boys, the duck becomes Shady's emotional support duck. Shady names her Svenrietta. 

Manda, Shady’s sister is one of the only people he talks to and she is an AMAZING and supportive teenage sister!


Quack is superb!!! This book has everything a middle grade story needs. It's a compassionate underdog (underduck!) story! There is serious topic, anxiety disorders, interlaced with witty prose andcompassionate characters.  I'm going to read this with all three of my kids and I highly recommend it to people of all ages! 

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review
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