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Make Way for Ducklings Paperback – 1988
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Anyone who lives in or wants to visit Boston will appreciate the 1940s vision of ducks living between the Charles River and the Boston Public Gardens. McCloskey was an author/illustrator who brought a special gentleness and humor to his work for children. Every child and parent should read his books again and again: Make Way For Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal, A Time of Wonder, One Morning in Maine, are books that build appreciation for nature and human relationships.
I had a bizarre experience of driving in northeastern Massachusetts one summer day when I had to stop on a road near a lake to let a family of ducks cross. Of course, I thought of Make Way for Ducklings. That is not all that unusual where ducks spend their summers. What happened next was that NPR sadly announced the death of Robert McCloskey. I am not superstitious, however that was one amazing, touching coincidence.
Why does the book---the story and the illustrations---hold up so well over so many years and generations? The story tells of a kindly world, such as would make a child feel secure, warm, and happy: the loving parent ducks, the island in the lake of the great park where the swanboats still glide, and the police who care enough about little ones to stop traffic so Mrs Duck can lead her small family across the streets and into their new home in the park. The story tells also about a city, Boston, with the old squares, the state house, details from which the reader can take off with more stories for the little ones nestled close. And the illustrations in brown crayon (I think) are magical, individuating the ducklings, catching the quirkiness of the good citizens of Boston, bringing to our today the life of one spring day long long ago.
May you and your next generations delight in "Make Way for Ducklings" too!