Robert McCloskey's Make Way for the Ducklings is a heartwarming tale of Mr. and Mrs. Ballard flying around Boston in search for the perfect place to hatch and raise their ducklings. The plot is an appropriate depth to keep children entertained and learning without feeling overwhelmed. The sketched drawings are realistic with shading and enough detail that your child may not even notice the absence of color.
Unlike many children's books, the locations the Ballards travel to are real places in Boston, so your child can learn a bit of geography as well, or perhaps recognize the names if they have heard them before. The Ballards visit the Public Garden, Becon Hill, the State House, Louisburg Square, and the Charles River. Your child may also learn some new facts about ducks, like how they can dive to the bottom of the pond in search of food, what happens when they malt, or that the ducklings always follow their mother in a single-file line. You can laugh together at the humor in the book, like when the Ballards did not realize the swan on the back of the boat was not real, and they thought it was too proud to say hello back to them, or the silly rhyming names of all eight ducklings: Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack. The pictures also do a great job of expressing humor with the people's reactions to seeing Mrs. Ballard and her ducklings parading through the down and down the main streets.
When I read this book to my friend, Sam, he said he has fed ducks at the park before but his mom gave him stale bread to break into pieces and throw into the river at the ducks, instead of peanuts like in the book. Sam said he thought only elephants ate peanuts, or he would have asked his mom for those to feed the ducks instead. I suggested he try peanuts next time to see what they like better, but Sam through we should try cookies instead since that is what he would want if he were a duck.