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Post courtesy of Stephanie Madden, Book Club Maven Extraordinaire

“Rubber Ducky, you’re the one. You make bath time lots of fun!” While the rubber duck is often at the center of childhood nostalgia, Donovan Hohn’s “Moby Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them” made the tale of a 1992 container ship accident that sent thousands of Floatee bath toys, including yellow ducks, red beavers, green frogs, and blue turtles (which were actually plastic, not rubber!), an engaging and educational tale of bath toys and Hohn’s quest to follow their epic voyage through the biggest bathtub of all: the ocean.

The July meeting of the DC EcoWomen book club played off the water theme of the book and met at the recently established Yards Park on the Anacostia River. The Nats were playing a home game that day, so we could hear the cheer of the crowd from the nearby stadium as we dipped our feet in the park’s water wall feature and made introductions. It was a scorcher that day, so we quickly moved inside to Justin’s Cafe to continue our discussion, and enjoy cool drinks and delicious snacks. We received a few curious glances as we pulled out Eric Carle’s book “10 Little Rubber Ducks,” which was based on the same container ship accident and passed it around to look at the pictures as we ordered our food.

We discussed many different topics and themes raised by the book, from debating the value of beach cleanups as potential greenwashing events, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Hohn’s decision to follow the path of the Floatees with a pregnant wife at home (and what she thought about all of this ducky nonsense), toy factories in China, and other unique ways that oceanographers learn about the ocean currents, such as The Drift Bottle Project. We also discussed larger themes, such as our thoughts and experiences on dropping everything to chase a dream, and ended the discussion by recounting stories of our own childhood nostalgia. Before we went our separate ways, each of the EcoWomen attending received a small, rubber ducky keychain as a reminder of book club and the epic journey of Hohn and the Floatee bath toys.


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