When I learned that my GV friend Renata would be in town for the Berkman@10 celebration, I told her that she just had to stay an extra day so she could come to my birthday party. Although all sorts of chaos involving her awful subletter in Somerville prevented her from staying very long (instead leading her to my apartment to crash with the kitties), I was glad to have her at my birthday party.
The next morning, having been unable to find them all week, she ventured into the Common to find something which, to her and to me, is an integral part of Boston…
…The famous ducklings! These little quackers, if you didn’t already know, are based on the Robert McCloskey book Make Way for Ducklings. The book, which won the 1942 Caldecott Medal for children’s literature, follows Mr. and Mrs. Mallard through Boston as they search for a home. It was named the official state children’s book of Massachusetts in 2000 (Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Suess, is the official state children’s author.)
Renata even singled out the most adorable little duckling (photo entitled “el patito con personalidad”):
The duckling statues were created by artist Nancy Schön and installed in 1987. Even prior to the statue’s installation, however, the City of Boston has held a Duckling Day Parade each year, during which children dress up as ducklings and, with their parents, retrace the steps the Mallards took.
Incidentally, former First Lady Barbara Bush made a gift of ducklings to Russia’s First Lady at the time Raisa Gorbachev. The statue was placed in Novodevichy Park in Moscow. Sadly, several of the ducks have been stolen over the years, but all were replaced in 2000: