Make Way for Ducklings
by Robert McCloskey
Yesterday, I walked to my car to the screams of about 100 8th graders. I scanned the area, looking for the cause of the ruckus and saw a small mourning dove chick in the middle of the downtown intersection, desperate to get to safety. The students were anxious to help, but were held in place by the invisible barricade created by the rules for proper street etiquette. Never being too concerned with norms my self, I checked for on coming traffic and made my way to the frantic baby bird. Hobble, Hobble, Flap, Flap, Flap. He was trying to get away from the screaming children, my feet and hands and the hot pavement. I lifted him to safety, saw that the children were still tucked behind their barrier, and thought of Make Way for Ducklings.
This Caldecott winning picture book is an enduring classic about Mrs. Mallard and her hatchlings. It is worth reading and sharing at any age. When my own words fail me, in discussions with friends and family, I frequently search for an appropriate picture book and the tale enclosed within to help drive home a point. In Make Way for Ducklings, I have a chance to remind myself that it takes a lot of help to raise a family. When I share it with my son, he gets a soft reminder of the obstacles that face a growing chick.
As for my adopted bird. We have named him Lou, short for Louisiana, because we found him at the intersection of 3rd and Louisiana. He is eating and feeling as at home as a wild bird can. In a few weeks, we should be able to let him fly away to make his own way in the world.