Mary Vigliante Szydlowski

A school visit to Martin Luther King School in Schenectady, NY. Telling the children about The Duck in the Hole and other books.



12 oz. cream cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small package pepperoni slices
1 large round loaf of crusty bread
1 small loaf of crusty French or Italian bread


Using a serrated knife, cut a large circle in the top of the round loaf big enough for your hand to fit through.

Pull off the top piece and scoop out the inside of the bread leaving the crusty outer part intact to form a bowl.

Place the bread on a large tray or platter.

Tear the pieces you removed from the round loaf and the entire small loaf into bite size pieces to use for dipping and place them on the platter around the bread bowl.

Cut the pepperoni slices into quarters or even smaller pieces.

Place cream cheese in a microwave safe casserole dish and microwave 1 or 2 minutes until the cheese softens.

Stir in the soup and microwave 3 or 4 minutes until the mixture bubbles.

Add the pepperoni and microwave 1 additional minute.

Spoon the hot mixture into the bread bowl.

Dunk the bread into the dip and enjoy!


"Six-year old Keesha is out playing when she hears a duck quacking. She looks around, and discovers that a little brown duck has fallen down a hole. Her arms are too short to reach down into the hole and rescue the duck, so Keesha has to think of how she can rescue the duck by using other ideas.

She tries various methods. Nothing seems to work. She puts on her "thinking cap" and tries harder to come up with more rescue ideas. She finally comes up with an idea that just might work. Can the duck be saved? Will Keesha's idea work?

Author Mary Vigliante Szydlowski wrote this book in simple, straightforward text - every word was carefully chosen, and it shows in the ease of readability. This story teaches a young child a new way to look at how to solve a problem, and gain some self-esteem by being able to come up with a workable solution. It is one of those quiet, really solid books that I would highly recommend to any parent to have their children read.

I'm also impressed with the quality of the illustrations by Lori Kiplinger Pandy and the book itself. Operation Outreach publishes books that will be given away in elementary and middle schools to at-risk children all across the country. Their philosophy of..." if they own the book, they will develop a love of reading,"... seems to be working. OO-USA also provides teacher lesson plans and parent guides with every reading book they distribute. If you would like more information on this outstanding literacy program, please visit their website at: http:/​​/​​"

Review by
Stories for Children Editor,
VS Grenier
November 5, 2007

The page behind The Duck in the Hole is from Surprises Magazine and shows the orginal 100 word, half-page story that became the basis for the book. If you look real hard you can see the little yellow duck at the bottom of the hole.

The Duck in the Hole

Published by Operation Outreach-USA July 2007 Illustrated by Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Available at:

Six-year old Keesha has a problem. There's a duck stuck in a hole in her front yard. She needs to find a way to get it out. Keesha comes up with several ideas, but none of them work. She needs to act quickly, before the neighbor's dog and cat can harm the duck. Can she save it? She must use all her problem-solving skills to find a way to set it free.

Illustration by Lori Kiplinger Pandy