Monday, March 19, 2012

Make Way for Ducklings By: Robert McCloskey

I vividly remember every spring until I was about six years old waiting for the ducklings to hatch. We had a big pond near our home and my mother fed the ducks almost every day. The ducks would march right up onto our concrete slab porch and gobble up all the bread pieces. It seems like a hundred ducks would crowd around snapping at their neighbor to get the piece of bread that landed near by. One duck was reddish brown with a white collar around his neck and my mother called him Pope. Another one was a girl duck with the usual markings but much lighter brown than all the other female ducks and we called her Blondie. Both ducks came often for a bread snack. Usually I only dreamed of holding a baby duckling and feeling its soft feathers but the ducklings were always too quick and would only send me on a chase until they got back in line with their mother and back into the pond for a swim. But one day I was so proud of myself when I rescued a little, fluffy, yellow duckling from a basement well just in time to send it off with its mother again.

That brings me to the story of Make Way for Ducklings and 1942 Caldecott medal winner. I always was fond of this book from the moment it was read to me as a little girl in Kindergarten. The illustrations looked so life like and the fact that the ducks were a Mr. and Mrs. and had babies made me hope that maybe my "pet" ducks could talk like them too! The story starts with Mr. and Mrs. Mallard looking for a nice place to raise a family. They end up in Boston in the Public Garden. They enjoyed it there but Mrs. Mallard almost got ran over by a bicycle so they continued on their search for a place to build their nest. They end up building their nest by the Charles River. They meet a man named Michael who feeds them peanuts every day. Mrs. Mallard lays eight eggs and one day they hatch. Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack. Mr. Mallard decides to take a small trip and agrees to meet them in one week in the Public Garden. Mrs. Mallard knows all about rearing children and she teaches them to swim, dive, walk in a line, and keep safe. They then start on to the Public Gardens but start to get into trouble when they have to cross the street. Even with all their quacking the cars keep driving and honking away at them. Michael the man who feeds them peanuts stops traffic for them and gets them safely across the street and calls for help to get them to the park. The spectacle ensues as the traffic is stopped to watch the mother duckling and her babies walk in a line across the streets to the park. When they finally arrive Mr. Mallard is waiting for them and they like it so much they decide to stay.

Read this book to the kids and then go out to a pond or a park and start looking for the little yellow ducklings that always come around this time of year! 

No comments:

Post a Comment