When I lived in Boston, I walked past the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in the Public Gardens countless times – the Public Gardens was one of my favorite reading spots! And I’d seen Robert McCloskey’s famous children’s book of the same title almost as many times in bookstores and gift shops. Not only is it a popular children’s book, it was almost always featured in any local bookstore’s “Boston” section, alongside guidebooks and novels by Hawthorne and Alcott. But as many times as I’d seen Make Way for Ducklings, I’d never actually picked up a copy and read it. Well, since the theme for this month’s Reading New England Challenge is children’s books, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to read this classic!
Make Way for Ducklings tells the story of a family of ducks who make their home in the Boston Public Gardens, where they are safe from foxes and turtles and have easy access to meals (i.e. peanuts from the tourists on the swan boats). It’s an adorable tale that I think really reflects the love that Boston has for it’s ducklings sculpture. It honestly made me miss living there and being able to visit the Public Gardens to read or watch the ducks. I lived very close to the Gardens, and this book did make me a little upset that there wasn’t a bookstore on Charles St. anymore! I didn’t even know there was one at any point (Make Way for Ducklings was published in 1941), and if it had still been there when I was in Boston, I probably would have lived there. I can’t get over the idea of having a bookstore in my neighborhood…
Anyway… since this is a picture book, I should probably mention the illustrations. I thought they were really lovely! They are monochrome, and have a great vintage feel, which I think lent itself well to the story (which is a bit old-fashioned – in a good way). I also like how they were detailed, so everything was clear and interesting. And I think they struck a great balance between cartoonish and photo-realistic; they’re fitting for a children’s book without seeming juvenile. Overall, I think they accompanied the story very well.
I did really enjoy this book, and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it! It took me back to one of my favorite cities in the world. As a nanny, I’ve been reading quite a few children’s books lately, and I have to say this was one of my favorites!
If you’re looking for a cute children’s book, I highly recommend Make Way for Ducklings. And if you live in Boston, you should definitely give this book a read! I wish I’d read it while I was still living there, because it truly made the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture that much cuter in my eyes. (Though nothing will be quite as cute as the time someone dressed them all in tiny little Bruins jerseys.)