Deviled Egg Dip
Make Way for Ducklings Book Play

Make Way for Ducklings

by Robert McCloskey

Make Way for Ducklings is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their search for the perfect home in which to bring up a fine brood of eight ducklings. The ducks encounter many dangers and wonders while navigating the city and find a human friend who takes great joy in lending a helping hand to the feathered family.

First published in 1941 and winner of the 1942 Caldecott Award, Make Way for Ducklings is a true classic that continues to enchant children and adults alike.  It is also the official children's book of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as it takes place in Boston. 

Robert McCloskey’s subtle, detailed drawings and the book’s double page spreads invite the reader in and allow you to feel the thrill of soaring over the city. It is no wonder that Robert McCloskey’s books continue to be childhood favorites of both big and little readers.


In this Issue


Peanut Pea Salad

Peanut-Pea Salad - Make Way for Ducklings -

Peanut Pea Salad is a recipe inspired by the time the Mallard family spent in the Boston Public Garden enjoying the peanuts people threw to them from the Swan Boats.

Feeding ducks and geese in public areas is a popular activity and most people reach for bread, crackers and popcorn to give to our feathered friends. According to, bread products are not really an ideal treat to give to the birds. Visit the site to find a list of foods that are more appropriate to take the next time you decide to visit a Mallard family in your area. (Here’s a tip – defrosted, frozen green peas like those in our salad are a winner).

We added a few kid-friendly flavors to the duck snacks of peas and peanuts to make a fun springtime salad perfect for munching on while enjoying another reading of Make Way for Ducklings. 

Peanut Pea Salad


Adapted from Crunchy Green Pea and Peanut Salad.

  • 1 12 ounce bag frozen peas
  • 2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Cook the peas according to the package directions. Let the cooked peas cool completely and drain if necessary. 
  2. While peas cool, stir the yogurt, milk, salt, pepper, and lemon juice together in a small bowl. 
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the peas, peanuts, and chopped celery.
  4. Pour the yogurt mixture over the peanut and green pea mixture, and stir until well combined.


Make Way For Ducklings Book Play

Waddle! Waddle!

For book play this week, ask your reader to imagine that they are one of the Mallard ducklings and waddle in a straight line. Join in the fun and waddle too, maybe having your little duckling follow you just as the ducklings followed faithfully behind Mrs. Mallard. 

Make a Duck Nest

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard build a nest in a cozy spot on an island in the Charles River. If you are really in the spirit, gather mud, grass, leaves, small twigs and pine needles and let your reader try creating a small nest.

Learn About Mallard Ducks

With the trusty National Geographic Mallard Duck Creature Feature, you and your young reader can see pictures of male and female ducks and ducklings and learn fun facts about their habitat, what they eat, and more. 


Quack Quack Collage

Quack Quack Collage - Make Way for Ducklings -

The word collage comes from the French word colle, which means, glue and the dictionary defines collage as an artistic composition made of various materials glued to a flat surface. The joy of making a collage, especially with young children, is the focus on creativity and exploration of shape, color and texture.

Quack Quack Collage - Make Way for Ducklings -

There are no rules in making a collage and every child will approach it differently, be it careful and meticulous placement of the materials or the “dump truck” method of piling pieces on the surface. Encourage it all and enjoy the process!

Quack Quack Collage


Collage Base

  • Flat piece of cardboard – a panel cut from a cereal box works well, or a sturdy piece of paper
  • Glue

Suggested Materials Inspired by the Book

  • Feathers
  • Eggshells – dried and crushed
  • Peanut shells
  • Dried grass
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Colored paper
  • Crinkle paper from gift bags
  • Seeds
  1. If using a cereal box, cut a large panel from the box for your child to use as the gluing surface.
  2. Attaching materials to the cardboard can be done in two different gluing methods:
    - Individually glue each piece to the cardboard.
    - Using a paintbrush, brush glue across the paper then place materials on the glue.
  3. Allow glue to dry, and display!


Where in the World?: Boston

Where in the World is Boston?

Get out your globe or map of the United States and show your young reader how to find Boston, Massachusetts, where the Mallard family makes their home.  Identify where you live as well and where Boston is in relation to your home.

Boston Public Garden

If you are lucky enough to live in or near Boston, or will be traveling there soon, take advantage of the opportunity to see where the Mallard family lived.

The beautiful Boston Public Gardens has many kid-friendly attractions, including the swan boats featured in the book, and a the Boston Common Frog Pond. During the Duckling Day Parade, held on Mother's Day, "children and their families will retrace the steps of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their family of eight ducklings."

Since 1987 there has been a statue of Mrs. Mallard leading her ducklings in the Boston Public Garden, created by artist Nancy Schön. A similar sculpture by the same artist was a gift from Mrs. Barbara Bush to Mrs. Gorbachev as a part of the START treaty and can be seen in Moscow. 


 This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Off the Shelf!


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.