Make Way For Ducklings

What It Is

The classic story about Mr. and Mrs. Mallard who search for the perfect place to raise their family of ducklings. After “scouting” many locations, they settle in Boston’s Public Garden. The Mallard family feels a bit like fish—or, ducks—out of water as they dodge speeding bikes and cars, and wonder why statues of swans won’t talk back to them.

Why It’s Fun

Kids will giggle at the “irony” of ducks in the city and it could be a good chance to talk about the differences between city life and a duck’s natural habitat.

The ducklings rhyming names are cute—Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack—giving parents an opportunity to begin teaching alphabetical order. The simplistic rhyme scheme is appealing and fun for kids and parents to say together.

Who’s Going To Love It

For those who grew up in New England, this nearly 60-year-old story is a childhood rite-of-passage. So much that there are statues of Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings in the real Boston Public Garden. It is a cute story, but its longer length and brown-and-white graphics make it harder to get through with very young children and their shorter attention spans.

The illustrations were created long before the digital age and seem bland in comparison with contemporary children’s books. This book may have a large nostalgia quotient for grandparents, but perhaps an updated version might make the book more engaging for today’s children.

With respect to Mr. McCloskey for creating a book that has been in print for six decades, it’s a story that all should read to their kids at least once, but may only be a true favorite to New Englanders. Definitely one to borrow from the library.

The publisher’s recommended age is 3-8, but kids in pre-K and kindergarten seem to be the sweetspot.

Reading Time

Over five minutes, but under 10.

Read-It-Again Points

6 out of 10

Book Information

Make Way For Ducklings
By: Robert McCloskey (1941)
Published by: The Viking Press, a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers
Approximate retail price: $18.99 (hardcover), $7.99 (paperback)

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