Book Review: Make Way for Ducklings

Rating: ★★★★☆

Make Way for Ducklings is a lighthearted fantasy about a duck couple preparing to nest, who find themselves in the neighborhood of Boston.  In the course of their search for a suitable place to raise ducklings, they visit some of the major landmarks of the city before settling down on a small island in the middle of the river.  They befriend a policeman named Michael, and when it is time for Mrs. Mallard to bring the ducklings to meet Mr. Mallard in the Public Garden, Michael calls on the city police force to help them make their way through the bustling city.

It’s a sweet story combining very nice artwork, enjoyable dialogue, a bit of wildlife observation, and a look at Boston’s landmarks.  While the idea of a police force deplying its resources to escort a family of ducks through the city seems silly, there was actually a recent incident in New York that echoed these events.  The duck family are anthropomorphized enough to express some human virtues in their orientation toward family: Mr. Mallard keeps his word to meet Mrs. Mallard in the park, and takes responsibility for finding a place to nest; Mrs. Mallard is wise and competent in her care of her children, and their relationship with one another is one of respect.   The story also introduces the tension that sometimes exists between present human development of our environment (by which I mean to include our cities) and the well-being of animals under our dominion, raising the question of how we ought to provide for animals that make their home within our dangerous city landscape.  This is an excellent addition to our home library.

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Publication Information: McCloskey, Robert. Make Way For Ducklings. . 1941. ISBN: 0140564349.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 04-08, Amblesideonline, Book Tree, Books Children Love, Caldecott Medal,, Honey For a Child's Heart, NEH Summertime Favorites, Read-Aloud Handbook, World Books That Show
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Posted on May 13, 2009

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