Written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey
As a child, Make Way For Ducklings was one of my favorite books. I loved the story, the simple yet lifelike illustrations, but mostly (being from Boston) I loved going to the Public Garden and playing on the bronze duckling statues and feeding the ducks in the park peanuts. In addition to being a remarkably talented award-winning author and illustrator, Robert McCloskey has the magical ability to write stories that intersect with the real lives of children.
I assumed that all children were raised to love this story but after talking with other students who work with children’s literature, I was surprised to find out that this was not the case. While many of the locations and landmarks in this story will not be familiar to children from places other than Boston, this is still a classic story that all children will be able to love and appreciate.
The story begins with Mr. and Mrs. Mallard flying over Boston, looking for a place to settle and raise a family. The ducks are pictured flying over the State House, exploring the Charles River, and ultimately settling down in the Public Garden along with their ducklings Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack. Along the way, the Mallards befriend the Boston police force and become fixtures in the Public Garden for all Boston citizens to feed and observe.
This is a classic American animal story and a wonderful way for children to experience literature in real life. McCloskey’s charcoal drawings appeal both to adults and children of all ages adn the story has sold over 2 million copies. Families travelling to the Boston area should absolutely share this story with their children and, of course, plan a visit to the Boston Public Garden to pose for pictures on the infamous and beloved bronze duckling statues.
Reviewed by Emily Francis