BOSTON — I was not that familiar with Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, but I was informed by the Ombudman’s attorney that it “the” Boston children’s book. Since I have a son, I decided to get it, though I wound up buying it outside of Boston in the Curious George bookstore which is located on the ground floor of CarTalk Plaza.
“Make Way for Ducklings” is about Mr. and Mrs. Mallard looking for a place to raise their family. They choose the pond at the Public Garden, but decide it isn’t safe for newborn ducklings after a close call with a bicyclist. They hatch the ducklings on an island in the Charles River near the Longfellow Bridge. The island isn’t there anymore, if ever was — perhaps a little artistic license by McCloskey. Anyway, after Mr. Mallard ditches the family for some reason for a week, Mrs. Mallard leads the ducklings across Storrow Drive and down to the Public Garden where Mr. Mallard is waiting for them. A policeman helps them along the way. McCloskey’s artwork is quite good and many of the illustrations are accurate today.
The book is celebrated with a sculpture in the Public Garden, not far from the pond and pictured above.