Now that Duckling Day is over and the beloved story that inspired it remains fresh in our minds it is worthwhile to think about the woman who so vividly brought McCloskey’s unforgettable illustrations to life by creating the bronze sculptures of Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, Quack and Mrs. Mallard that continue to delight children and adults alike in the Boston Public Garden. It is said that the ducklings have never lost their shine despite never being professionally polished because of the thousands of children who come to play on them each year.
The master-mind behind the statues’ design is Nancy Schön, a graduate of Boston’s Museum School who is well-known for her approachable sculptures. Schön has always had an inclination for making sculptures that are not only visually stunning, but fashioned to be interactive so that even the smallest child can find joy in the bronze statues that grace many of Boston’s neighborhoods.
Perhaps you have seen the tortoise and hare that greet Boston Marathon runners at the finish line in Copley Square or the friendly dragon on Nonquit Street that protects the people of Dorchester. There is even a sad donkey waiting for his friend Pooh Bear outside Newton Free Library. Maybe, just maybe, you’ve seen the only replica of the Public Garden’s duckling statues in the world located in Novodevichy Park, Moscow, installed as a gift from First Lady Laura Bush to First Lady Raisa Gorbachev during the signing of START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) in 1991.
Wherever the sculptures of Nancy Schön appear in your life they are sure to bring joy and fond memories of childhood tall tales.