Friday, May 2, 2014

Make Way for These Lucky Ducklings!

I am sure you all know about Mack, Jack, Kack and all their siblings (what is up with Ouack????) in that famous story written by Robert McCloskey.  If you don't know about them you'd better get quacking, especially if you live in the Boston area.  Even I know about them, and I'm a dog!  If you're human you can go visit the statues in the Public Garden, and if you are really little you can sit on them.  That sounds fun.  I don't go in to the city of Boston, so I can't enjoy seeing them or peeing on them, so you will have to do it for me.

Even though the pictures are only in brown and white they are fabulous.  I heard that Mr. McCloskey actually had live ducks living in his home while he was writing and illustrating the book, so that he could really get every detail right.  I tried to convince my family that I needed live ducks, but they didn't believe that I just wanted to draw them.  They're on to me.

So I was just loafing around the other day when a new pile of books came home from the Library.  One of them had a mother Mallard and her babies on the front.  It said "A True Rescue Story" at the top of the cover, and the title was Lucky Ducklings.  Eva Moore wrote the words and Nancy Carpenter made the pictures.  

I noticed right away that something fishy was going on.  These ducklings were named Pippin, Bippin, Tippin, Dippin, and last of all, Little Joe.  That sure sounds like Mack and family, doesn't it?  Then they go on an adventure, stopping at a little building - just like the little police station in the classic!!!! except there's a lady inside who is collecting tolls, but not from the ducks.  I was thinking, "This is just like that other book, Make Way for Ducklings!  I was a little upset because even I know you can't copy books that are already written.

Then I turned the page and everything changed.  The ducklings fell, one by one, down a storm drain.  That sure didn't happen in the other book.  I couldn't believe it!  It was so sad, except that their little feet were sticking up in a very comical way so I couldn't help laughing a little, too.  The story just kept getting more and more exciting, with firemen, and dark sewers, and trucks.  

I'm not sure, but I think Eva Moore and Nancy Carpenter meant to make connections between this book and Make Way for Ducklings.  The familiar story parts and images are like a celebration of the first book, but these ducklings have their own story to tell.  At day's end both families swim off into a gentle evening, "And that is the end of the story".