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Make Way for Ducklings: It’s National Duckling Month!

May 10, 2016 | All About Animals, Holidays, Pet Features

Anyone remember Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack? They’re the famous ducklings in Robert McClusky’s 1941 children’s classic, Make Way for Ducklings.


The author was determined to make the illustrations look just right, so he purchased a crate of ducklings; took them home to his studio apartment in Greenwich Village, gave them a bath in his bathtub, and then set about drawing. The results were both distinctive and charming.

The setting for the book is the city of Boston. The book’s main characters Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, spend lots of time flying over the city, trying to find the perfect safe and cozy spot to make a nest and start their family. The couple finally settles into the brush alongside the Charles River, and make friends with a policeman named Michael, who feeds them peanuts every day.

Soon enough, ducklings Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack are hatched. Mr. Mallard quickly decides to take a trip to explore the rest of the river. He and Mrs. Mallard agree to meet in the Boston Public Garden in a week’s time.

While he’s away exploring, Mrs. Mallard teaches the ducklings everything they need to know about being ducks, such as swimming, diving, marching along, as well as how to avoid dangers like bicycles (Mrs. Mallard was nearly run over by one!), and other objects with wheels.

Objects with wheels become a problem for Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings when they attempt to maneuver their way through the busy streets of Boston to get to the Public Garden. As cars honk their horns, the ducks quack back at them.

Finally, their policeman friend Michael comes to the rescue, and traffic is halted to “Make Way for Ducklings!” The Mallard family safely crosses the street and then swim to the island in the center of the lagoon in the Public Gardens where Mr. Mallard is waiting. Once reunited, the family decides to stay and make themselves at home, and they live happily ever after.

shutterstock_139855345In the 75 years since Make Way for Ducklings was published, the book has never gone out of print, and it remains a favorite with parents, teachers, and of course, children. Today, Mr. McClusky’s famous ducks are more than beloved book characters: they have been immortalized in bronze statues in the Boston Public Gardens. Each year, they are visited by thousands of people from all around the world. Locals delight in dressing the ducks in different outfits for the seasons.

A replica of the famous sculpture can also be found in Moscow – it was a gift from then First Lady Barbara Bush to Soviet First Lady Raisa Gorbachev.

See the ducklings:

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.