Make Way for Ducklings

12 07 2012

Every once in a while, when I see one of those internet lists of “Books You’ve Got to Read Before Kindergarten” or “100 Best Kids’ Books” or “You’re a Horrible Parent and a Failure as a Human Being if You Haven’t Read Every Book on This List,” I’m amazed by some of the books I have missed over the years.  I mean, I read a lot.  Yet somehow on the list of 100 Best Books, I’ve only read 25.  On the list of 50 Essential Picture Books, I’ve only read 19.  On the list of 67 Books You Have to Read Aloud to Your Kids, I’ve read none of them aloud (also, there’s 71 books on the list – weird).

This brought me to Make Way for Ducklings.  I don’t remember which list this little gem was on, but it certainly belongs on the list of books with the most pleasant and charming illustrations of all time.  Robert McCloskey’s illustrations remind me of sitting in the den of my parents’ house reading my uncle’s old Boy’s Life Magazines and Hardy Boys books.  The pictures take me back to a time that I never lived in, like I’m in the movie Pleasantville and have been transported back to an era of milkmen and men wearing cool hats and soda fountains.

I could stare at those illustrations for hours… Okay, who am I kidding?  I did.  I read this one on the couch while my three boys played on the floor, then I called each of them over, one at at time, and read it three more times – pointing out new, fun details in the pictures each time I read it.

The story is simple, nice, and very 1940s.  I like it, but the pictures.  Those pictures make me want to invent a time machine and go to art school in Boston in 1940… just like Robert McCloskey.

I went back to the library to return a few books after reading this one, but I didn’t take Make Way for Ducklings back yet.   I have a feeling I’ll stare at those drawings for a while longer.

Make Way for Ducklings is the 39th book I’ve read so far this summer.  I’m on a mission to finish 90 books in 90 days before summer vacation ends.  I’m almost half way there.  

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