Customer Reviews: Make Way for Ducklings
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Children naturally are interested in understanding a parent's perspective on the family. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard's search for a safe home for their future family makes a wonderful story for children and parents to explore and understand more about parental love. Although the book has a 4-8 age reading level, younger children enjoy having it read to them (based on the experiences of my four children). The illustrations are terrific and draw the child's interest very easily. Older children like to reread the story because of its comfortable connection to their more youthful years and reinforcement of their sense of being wanted, loved, and belonging.
To me, the best part of the book is that the locations are actually easy to find in Boston. So if you live in the Boston area or ever come here, you can also take your children to experience the story. I know my younger daughter thought that her first Swan boat ride in the Public Garden was the ultimate moment in her life (up to that point). She kept wanting to know which duck was Mrs. Mallard, and which one was Mr. Mallard. Then she wanted to spot Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack (my favorite name in the book), Pack, and Quack. I had a ball! There are also statues of Mrs. Mallard and her 8 offspring that the children can touch. There's also an annual parade that you can participate in.
If you don't know the story, here's a summary: Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were looking for a place to live where they could raise a family safely. Whenever Mr. Mallard found someplace he liked, Mrs. Mallard worried about foxes and turtles. Finally they got to the pond in the Public Garden in Boston, and were too tired to go on. So they spent the night on the little island there. The next morning they could not find much food, until the people on the Swan boats began to throw them peanuts. But the Mallards were almost run over by a bicycle, so they felt they needed a safer place. They tried several, but each had a drawback. Finally, they found an island in the Charles River not far from the Public Garden that met all their requirements. Michael, the policeman, fed them peanuts. Soon, Mrs. Mallard laid 8 eggs, and stayed to hatch them. After the ducklings were born, they learned to swim and walk single file behind their Mother. One day, she walked them towards the Public Garden. But they could not get across the highway. Michael spotted them and stopped the traffic so they could cross. He called Clancy at the station and told him to send a car to help Mrs. Mallard and the ducklings cross at the Public Garden. When in the pond there, they met Mr. Mallard on the little island. They decided to live there, and followed the Swan boats for peanuts after that.
I have enjoyed reading this story and reading it to children for almost 30 years. I look forward to reading it to my grandchildren when the time comes. It has also been my favorite book to give as a gift to new parents.
Enjoy the wonderful gift of warm family feeling in this book, and leave your stalled thinking about your cares and worries behind. It will remind you what is really important in your life!
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A tip of the hat, one and all, to Mr. Robert McCloskey. The father of the delicately shaded picture book, his stories always contain simple plots and a bundle of warmth. "Make Way For Ducklings" (which battles with "Blueberries For Sal" for the title Best-Known-McCloskey-Story) is one of the author's strongest efforts. Bringing elements of rural and urban life together, it not only tells a great tale but remains timeless in its telling.
The story follows Mr. & Mrs. Mallard, a realistically portrayed duck couple. No animals in funny clothes here. The two settle on a small metropolitan island to lay their eggs. Once hatched it's up to Mrs. Mallard and her troop to walk to their new home in the central park with the help of their local police force.
In the sixty some odd years since its publication, "Make Way For Ducklings" has remained exactly the same. The closest it comes to dating itself (aside from the stately cars and "lending library") is that Mr. Mallard abandons his family to fly ahead to the save island. That's one way of looking at it. Another way is to point out that Mrs. Mallard is a capable mother who knows exactly how to lead her small brood. The book is fun, diverting, and illustrated beautifully. It does not pretend to be anything it isn't. It is the classic above all other classics. And it is McCloskey's greatest invention.
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on June 21, 1998
The Cauldecott Medal is given to those childrens' books with outstanding illustrations. In "Make Way for Ducklings" Robert McCloskey has captured the personalities of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard's brood of duclkings from first hatch to the time they must go from the Charles River to the Boston Gardens. He has created the setting for a wonderful introduction to the world of ducks in the big city, and this book gives the reader the opportunity to ask questions about how birds really raise their families, or where exactly is Boston? So, it presents an opportunity to discuss nature, geography, birds, or even the hazards of living in a big city, when you are a duck. I used this book when I taught 2nd grade as an introduction to a bird unit. I also read it to my own children, over and over. A most higly recommended piece of children's literature!
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on February 22, 2001
Robert McCloskey's classic children's book, Make Way for Ducklings is just as delightful in the year 2002 as it was back when it was first published in 1941. The timeless story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their eight adorable ducklings is still a fun read for children and parents alike. The story begins as the prospective parents search for a new home suitable for raising their young ones. Mrs. Mallard is clearly the expert in this endeavor and Mr. Mallard is quite relieved when she finally settles on a spot that is not too dangerous or noisy for their young family. The couple make themselves quite at home on a little island in the Charles River of Boston, a quiet oasis within the busy city. Soon the ducklings hatch and Mrs. Mallard sets about teaching them all they need to know in order to live in the city. By now they have made good friends with some of their human neighbors, especially Michael, the policeman. When the family makes its first trip into the city, Michael calls for backup and literally stops traffic all along their path. The people the Mallards encounter are just as pleased to see the ducks as the Mallards are to be there. The reader leaves the family settling comfortably for the night after a day of happily following the Swan boats in the park and eating the peanunts tossed their way. The charm of this book lies in both the heartwarming story and th realistic but idyllic illustrations. McCloskey is quite gifted at portraying the natural world to children in a way that is authentic and familiar. Most children have seen duck families in a nearby pond and witnessed the way the ducklings learn about the world by waddling along after their parents. The sketched illustrations add to the natural feeling of the book. The depiction of the ducks is terrific because they are visually expressive but still look like ducks. Another engaging facet of the story is the positive interaction between animals and humans. The Mallards find a way to live comfortably within a city full of people and their human neighbors are welcoming and accommodating. Overall, this a warm and timeless book. It is just perfect for a parent and child to read together or for a teacher to read to a classroom of younger kids. This is a good selection for children aged 3 to 7.
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Go on, buy it! "Make Way For Ducklings" falls on the list of those "you'll never regret it" book purchases.
This treat for the eyes and ears, with beautifully drawn pictures and a carefully worded storyline, will bring your child into the Mallard family as they trek dangerously across town.

The names of each duckling are alliterative and rhythmic. Reading this aloud will bring chuckles with the silly "Ouack and Lack and Kack..." all those "quack" rhymes.

Not only will the book be fun to read and reread, but it will teach a child language skills, particularly those relating to poetry. Even though it is not a poem, because it so well-written, it has those poetic qualities.

When I visited Boston as an adult, I saw how familiar the town was only because I read "Make Way For Ducklings" as a child. The memories of this book are solid 30 years later, just as they will be for your son, daughter or younger relatives.

I fully recommend it.

Anthony Trendl
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on July 6, 1999
When I was very young, I recall my teacher's reading this book to me in school. Years later I surprised my husband with it when he was accepted to Harvard Business School in Boston, Mass.
If you are ever in Boston, stop by "the Mallard's" Public Garden to ride the swan boats and to see the beautiful copper statues of the Mallard family. Each Mother's Day, Boston has a Duck Parade where children and parents dress up like ducks and walk the route Mrs. Mallard walked. It is an enchanting event for a young reader!
This is a wonderful book which takes place in a fabulous city!
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on November 1, 1999
McCloskey's books were read to me as a child, and I loved them. This book was a favorite of mine as a library media specialist and is now a favorite of my children as well. I had the opportunity to meet the author and hear him tell of observing live ducklings in his studio/apt. when he was doing the illustrations because he wanted to draw them accurately. Children whom I've shared it with (they number in the 1000s)love the delightful rhyming names of the ducklings. I've given it as a gift many times as well! Enjoy!
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on May 2, 2004
What can I say that everyone else hasn't already? This is probably one of the finest children's books ever written. Its illustrations are richly detailed and vivid even in two-tone, and its story is adorable and wholesome. We're FROM Boston and we've recently moved away, and my little boy always thrills to recognize the Boston Gardens he remembers, but set in times past. The story is sneakily very educational, integrating in plain English information about the migration, mating and molting habits of ducks into an engaging and whimsical story about a mother duck taking care of her own. It also teaches about counting, nature observation, social studies (explaining the different jobs of a police officer) and alphabetization (The names of the ducklings will never fail to make your little one giggle.) We've had it for two years, and it remains one of my son's favorite bed time stories. Truly a classic that belongs in any child's library.
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on October 2, 2001
I have to give this book five stars for being my absolute favorite book when I was little. I used to make my mom read it to me over and over, I must have heard it a million times! I grew up near Boston and you can see real places in Boston in some of the pictures. If you are a kid or a parent with kids you definitely need this book, especially if you are in or near Boston. I haven't read it in a long time (I'm 16 now) but I can still picture all the pictures.
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on August 4, 2013
I remember my mom reading this to me and I read it to my children. I have purchased this book for each of my grandchildren and they love it. Now we have pictures of the grands with the duckling statues on the Boston common.
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