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‘Make Way For Ducklings’ Just Happened IRL In Portland

A 1942 picture book just happened in 2020 Maine.


Make Way for Ducklings is a classic children’s book and, apparently, one that also predicted the future.

The book, which won the Caldecott Medal as “the most distinguished American picture book for children” in 1942, was inspired by the ducks author Robert McCloskey would feed in Boston’s Public Garden, near where he attended art school in the ’30s. It tells the story of a married pair of ducks, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, who have eight ducklings: Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack.

Near the end of the story, the family decides to walk from the Charles River to the Public Garden, which they plan to make their permanent home. When cars won’t stop for them, they enlist the police to stop traffic and allow them safe passage.

An eerily similar scene played out on Tuesday morning less than two hours away from McCloskey’s setting. At an intersection near the Cross Insurance Arena in downtown Portland, Maine, animal control officers rescued ten ducklings who had fallen into a storm drain. A video of the incident shows the ducks, newly reunited with their mother, crossing the street as one of the officers stands to prevent cars from passing.

The ducks in McCloskey’s story eventually made it to the Public Garden. This group of ducks also settled in a public park, Deering Oaks, a park not far from where they were rescued.

Notably, McCloskey eventually made his home in Maine, where he set the two books Blueberries for Sal and One Morning In Maine. So, if the next piece of news involves a little girl confusing a bear for her mother, then we’ll know we’re officially slipping into a universe that is merging with McCloskey’s imagination.