Monday, March 28, 2016

Make Way for Ducklings Turns Seventy-Five

Those of us who grew up with Make Way for Ducklings may not remember all eight of them:  Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack. But we recall the adventure with their parents, Mr. and Mrs Mallard all of whom lived  on an island in Boston’s Charles River.

 Written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey (1914–1983), who published Make Way for Ducklings with Viking in 1941, who can forget Mrs. Mallard’s daily excursions to the Boston Public Garden, followed by her brood. The kind police officers who stopped traffic to allow them to cross the road, has become synonymous with American childhood.

On March 29, the publisher will release a 75th-anniversary edition of the classic, which includes a CD-audio recording of the book read by Brian Hatch, and a fold-out poster map featuring Boston landmarks – and of course the ducklings – created by Paul O. Zelinsky.
Illustrated with sepia drawings rather than the traditional black-and-white pictures found in most children’s books of the day, McCloskey’s picture book earned him the 1942 Caldecott Medal. There are five million copies of Viking’s edition of the book in print, and in 2003 Make Way for Ducklings was designated the official book of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
McCloskey bought four mallards, which he observed and sketched swimming in his bathtub and waddling through his studio, to make sure he captured their movements accurately in the book.
Fans can also honor the classic on Boston’s annual Duckling Day, held this year on May 8, Mother’s Day, when McCloskey’s daughter, Sal McCloskey (who inspired Blueberries for Sal), will lead the parade recreating the Mallard family’s journey. In another tribute, the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Mass., will display more than 90 original artworks in an exhibition, “Americana on Parade: The Life of Robert McCloskey,” from June 19 through October 23.

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