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Jessica Collins travels to Boston Public Garden and spotlights Mr. and Mrs. Mallard in this edition of On The Children's Shelf

In Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings,” young readers meet Mr. and Mrs. Mallard who are looking for a place to nest in Boston. They stop by the Public Garden and love the area but worry it is too busy for baby ducklings. They continue on and find a more secluded area. Once the ducklings hatch and are big enough for an adventure through Boston, they make their way back to the Public Garden and decide to make it their home.

I love when books take place in actual identifiable locations. Growing up reading books that took me to actual places made me want to see the world. Through books, I visited London, France, Boston. I traveled through time and visited stories of times past and what the future might be like. While time travel books are more challenging to visit in real life, visiting the different locations I discovered through books is possible.

I love that you can visit the place and imagine the book happening all around you, so I’m sure you can imagine where I needed to stop on a recent trip to Boston…the Boston Public Garden to see the ducklings.

The Boston Public Garden is extra special because not only does the book take place in the park but they brought the ducklings to the park with the amazing duckling's statue. To see the statue ducklings walking in a row through the park with the city in the background, it’s like a page of the book came to life. Taking young readers (or really readers of any age) to see the location of their favorite book helps them appreciate and experience the book in a whole new way.

*Jessica Collins is an award-winning writer whose column On The Children's Shelf (OTCS) has earned her national acclaim as well as several Connecticut Press Club awards. Follow her writing journey (and see her collection of OTCS) HERE.

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