Then, I learned that Robert McCloskey was born in Hamilton, Ohio - practically right here in my hometown. I couldn't believe it! I'd had no idea that such an accomplished author/illustrator hailed from Hamilton. He's a two-time Caldecott winner, for Pete's sake!
Further investigation lead me to discover that a sculpture honoring McCloskey's work had been commissioned here in his home town. I went looking for the statue and was sure I'd found it at the end of the bridge crossing the river where there is a sculpture of two flying mallards. The ducks were here!
|Nope. Wrong ducks.|
I've driven by the sculpture hundreds of time, assuming that this was Hamilton's Make Way for Ducklings representation. But then as I was walking through Hamilton, I finally read the placard. It has nothing to do with Make Way for Ducklings at all. This wasn't the McCloskey statue! It was actually across the river on Front Street. And though it wasn't a sculpture of Make Way for Ducklings, it was a sculpture created by the same woman who had created the Boston art piece.
|Lentil and his dog, Harmony, walking through Lentil Park in Hamilton, Ohio.|
Hamilton's statue depicts another of McCloskey's works: Lentil. It's the story of a boy who wanders around town playing his harmonica and meeting people. I can't help but agree that Lentil is much more appropriate for Hamilton than the ducklings that settled in Boston. Surely McCloskey had Hamilton in mind when he wrote it. In fact, it was probably loosely autobiographical; McCloskey played the harmonica, too.
I still wish I'd seen the ducklings sculpture, but am thrilled to know that another piece of children's literature greatness is practically right here in my own backyard.