Mothers Day and Boston’s Duckling Day

The Bronze monument created by Nancy Schon, sculptress, celebrates author Robert McCloskey's Boston's book, "Make Way For Ducklings". "This Sculpture has been placed here as a tribute to Robert McCloskey whose story 'Make Way for Ducklings' has made the Boston Public Garden familiar to children through out the world. (1987)" (Photo by Joe Gallo)

We hope all the young and old families of our North End / Waterfront audience visit this fun educational Boston tradition.

“Make Way for Ducklings,” a children’s book written by Robert McCloskey in 1941, won the Caldecott Medal (an award given annually for outstanding juvenile literature) in 1942. It quickly became a classic, going through seventeen printings and selling more than 700,000 copies

With his own drawings, McCloskey relates the tale of a pair of mallard ducks looking for a nesting site in Boston. They find the perfect place on an island in the Charles River Basin, but they remember the peanuts fed them by visitors to the Public Garden. When the ducklings are old enough, Mrs. Mallard and her progeny take a stroll up sidewalks and through traffic. One of Boston’s newer traditions is a children’s parade retracing the ducklings’ route on Duckling Day (Mothers Day).

Requests for replicas of this Boston monument in other cities have been turned down by the sculptor because ‘it’s a Boston story.’ Nancy Schon made exception when Russian First Lady Raisa Gorbachev asked her American counterpart Barbara Bush for a duplicate statue for Moscow; in 1991 a duck family was installed in Gorky Park.

Dedicated in the 150th anniversary year of the Public Garden, this sculpture is considered a tribute to McCloskey, whose drawings the sculptor followed closely. This monument was given to the City of Boston by Friends of the Public Garden.

Nancy Schön (born 1928) is a renowned sculptor of public art displayed internationally. Nancy prides herself in having work that is totally interactive. Her sculptures are available for people to touch, sit on, hug and interact with every day of the year, day or night.

Another major work by Nancy Schön’s besides “Make Way for Ducklings” is “The Tortoise and Hare”, which is a metaphor for the Boston Marathon and is located at the finish line in Copley Square.

As Nancy creates a work of art, her research is a quest for knowledge and of understanding issues and of learning, including her philosophy of “reflection in action”. “We learn so much from our inquiry but as my husband said, ‘we know more than we can say’ and I would always say back to him that I think our unconscious is brilliant!”

Please add this bronze monument to your next Boston walking tour sharing with family or friends.

Happy Mother’s Day from Joe Gallo the author of”Boston Bronze and Stone Speak To Us”, a Boston guidebook for walking tours throughout our city educating us about our City’s Public Art and its meaning to all of us.

More on the May 13, 2012 Ducklings Day event.