Massachusetts’ Official Children’s Book Will Quack You Up
Massachusetts has an "official" muffin, bird, folk dance, cookie, donut, color and anything else you can think of to favor. So why not an official children's book?
Yes, Massachusetts has an official children's book.
Make Way for Ducklings is an American children's picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey, born in Hamilton, Ohio, on September 15, 1914. Make Way for Ducklings was published in 1941 by the Viking Press.
Make Way for Ducklings is about a pair of mallards who raise their brood of ducklings on an island in the lagoon in the Boston Public Garden.
Make Way for Ducklings won the 1942 Caldecott Medal for its illustrations. The book has sold millions of copies and is still in print.
McCloskey attended the Vesper George School of Art on Saint Botolph Street in Boston from 1932 to 1936, where he often spent free time feeding the ducks in the Boston Public Garden. He later studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City.
According to the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 22: American Writers for Children, 1900-1960, to study ducks for illustrations, McCloskey consulted the American Museum for Natural History in New York and returned to Boston with six ducklings.
McCloskey's book tells of how "Mr. and Mrs. Mallard" fly over New England looking for a place to start a family, scouting out several Boston landmarks, including the State House and the Public Garden, before settling on an island in the Charles River.
Eventually, the Mallards, who now have had eight ducklings, find a new home at the Public Garden, thanks in part to a police officer named Michael.
The City of Boston placed a Make Way for Ducklings sculpture featuring the Mallards and their ducklings in the Public Garden. In 2000, schoolchildren from Canton convinced the state legislature to declare Make Way for Ducklings the Official Children's Book of Massachusetts.
The book is a great gift for children who can visit Boston and the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture, often decorated for special occasions such as Christmas.
McCloskey died on June 30, 2003, in Deer Island, Maine. He was 88.
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