Bookmark Monday: Vintage Classics

Robert McCloskey’s a classic recommended author in every home school reading list.

It’s global. (I checked a few sites to be sure of this).

We first chanced upon Blueberries for Sal some time earlier and borrowed it out of curiosity.

I have to say that in tropical urban cityscape Singapore, it’s not easy to identify with a story about bears on a hill, picking blueberries or making jam. For the winter.

So when we first read it to our children over half a year ago, they didn’t take much to the story.

After all, per their expert preschooler wisdom and very reasonable reasoning, and I quote –

“…bears live in the zoo, right?!”

“…the “hill” downstairs of our apartment block doesn’t have a blueberry bush, only bougainvilleas and ixora.”

“…blueberries come in tiny overpriced (ok, that bit about tiny overpriced is from me…) clear plastic punnets from NTUC Fairprice”, and

“…jam is found on the second shelf of the refrigerator”.


So I wasn’t holding my breath when we found Make Way for Ducklings last weekend.

In fact, um, we…borrowed it more for ourselves than the children. 😛

Because DH and I were ooh-ing over the vintage illustrations that reminded us so much of those silent cartoons that played on the CRT televisions in our childhood, those cartoons accompanied by classics by Mozart or Vivaldi or Bach.


But we were pleasantly surprised – they requested two repeat readings within the same sitting.

Like Blueberries for Sal, the story is, again, something we’d never really identify with in our culture.

Again, it would be pretty close to unimaginable to expect seeing ducks nest in Kallang Basin or Singapore River (yellow rubber duckies don’t count!) or cross any street, or the AYE, KJE, BKE , KPE, PIE or ECP*.

[Readers in the United States would probably identify much easier with the story – there is actually a sculptural installation in the Boston Public Gardens honoring Mrs Mallard and the famous little ducklings – Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack.]

But at the core of it, it’s a happy, warm and fuzzy story all about parents and children and family and making a home. 

And that theme probably resonates deeper and keener in each of our souls than we’d ever think. Imaginably so. 🙂


* acronyms for the highways in Singapore.

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