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MFA makes way for ducklings

A drawing for “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey.Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Who doesn’t love the kids’ classic “Make Way for Ducklings”? It’s the state’s official children’s book, after all.

Starting Nov. 25, fans can visit the Museum of Fine Arts for more mallards than they could ever imagine. “Make Way for Ducklings: The Art of Robert McCloskey” coincides with the book’s 75th anniversary. Just follow the duck prints from the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Courtyard into McCloskey’s imaginary world: The exhibit displays more than 50 original sketches for the book and large-scale illustrations, plus artwork from McCloskey’s other tomes. There’s also a set of mini bronze models for Nancy Schön’s Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in the Boston Public Garden, and seldom-seen McCloskey paintings and family snaps.


Kids can curl up on reading benches stocked with McCloskey’s books or participate in drawing activities based on McCloskey’s animal creations.

Do note: These mallards are anatomically correct. As the museum points out, McCloskey spent two years studying mallard specimens at the American Museum of Natural History — and even shared his New York City apartment with 16 ducks. Hopefully your children won’t get any ideas.

Museum admission is $25 for adults, free for anyone age 17 and under. The exhibit is in the Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery until June 18, 2017.

465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300,


Kara Baskin can be reached at