Archive for January 18th, 2009

Enslaved by Ducks

 Enslaved by Ducks  by Bob Tarte


Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books (October 1, 2004)
ISBN-10: 1565124502

From Publishers Weekly
Knowing little about animals, Tarte and his wife naively acquire Binky, an impish bunny, at an Easter bunny fair, little suspecting that it will soon dominate their lives and lead to a brigade of other winged and furred beasts. After Binky, they get a canary, then Ollie, an orange-chin pocket parrot, whom they return because he flings his water-logged food all over their floor and accosts them with calls and bites. Then they buy a more docile gray-cheek parakeet, which makes the Tartes realize they miss their raucous friend Ollie, whom they retrieve. Gluttons for punishment, the Tartes acquire a gender-confused African gray parrot named Stanley Sue, followed by ducks, geese, turkeys, parrots, starlings, more rabbits and cats. Every day brings an adventure or a tragedy (Ollie escapes; a duck gets eaten by a raccoon) to their Michigan country house. With dead-on character portraits, Tarte keeps readers laughing about unreliable pet store proprietors, a duck named Hector who doesn’t like water, an amorous dove named Howard, a foster-mother goose, patient veterinarians and increasingly bewildered friends. Tarte has an ordinary-Joe voice that makes each chapter a true pleasure, while revealing a sophisticated vision of animals and their relationship to humans.

To say that Bob Tarte has a sense of humor about raising birds of all kinds, is like saying water is wet.  But then you either have a really good sense of humor, or you might wind up pulling your hair out or banging your fingers building yet another cage.

If you think  children don’t listen or that children give you grief or great worries (and great joys) .. you need to read this book to know children aren’t the only ones  to dole out such pleasures.  And surely they are pleasures or the Tarte’s would not continually have their family of animals grow in such leaps and bounds! 

This book covers several years of the Tarte’s accumulating their animals and their trials and tribulations of raising a multitude of different birds.  From parrots to ducks to turkey’s, toss in a dove and some parakeets and a rabbit here and there just to spice things up.

Linda, Bob’s wife, trained him well.  It didn’t take her long before he knew if she said anything like “oh look, isn’t he cute” that he didn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of walking away without buying a new addition to their home.  (gotta love a lady like that!) 

This was an enjoyable read.  Not everything went smoothly as their family grew, and there were even times of sadness when they’d loose one of their birds, but the book was written with great humor and plenty of smiles for you to enjoy.   Of course, it probably helps if you are in some way or another an animal person, but if you aren’t… you still might enjoy the read.

So, I guess I can thank Chris for being the person who write such a good review that it made me want to read this book.  Thanks Chris!


Off the subject of ducks…

One of those freaky things happened to me this morning.  As you can see on my side bar I am now reading The Christopher PLummer Memoirs… I’m not very far into it but in the last chapter I read last night it mentions another very fine actor who helped bring Mr Plummer to first appear in America after he worked with him in Bermuda.  His name?  Edward Everett Horton.

And what do I see this morning as I turn my tv on for company ?  On TCM is the ending of Arsenic and Old Lace with Cary Grant… and who walks into the scene but Edward Everett Horton!

Sometimes it’s creepy to me when things like that happen!

(I wish I had woke earlier to see the whole movie I love Arsenic and Old Lace! It’s been so long since I’ve seen it I actually had forgotten that Boris Karloff and Peter Lorrie are in it! lol.. I’m laughing even though I am only seeing the ending! Funny movie! One worth a review but I won’t cheat because I didn’t see the entire movie)

One more note on Edward Everett Horton (and I hear my young readers going: who the hell is he?)  If you are not among the very young you remember a cartoon show called Rocky and Bullwinkle.. in the show they did a thing called Aesops Fables, and who voiced that part?  Edward Everett Horton.

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