Whenever I think of my all-time favorite children’s book, Blueberries for Sal, I think of this line.... Kuplink, Kuplank, Kuplunk.
These 3 cherished words, written by author Robert McCloskey, are forever embedded into my own childhood, my children’s childhood and many children I had the pleasure of teaching. How brilliant is a story teller who can put 3 little made up words into a story and the reader knows just reading them that they are the sound of blueberries falling into a metal bucket.
In Blueberries for Sal, a little girl named Sal is looking for blueberries with her mother to can for the upcoming winter while at the same time a mother bear and her cub are looking for blueberries for hibernation. Things get a little mixed up but in the end both children get a nice fill of sweet delicious blueberries.
Robert McCloskey used his own childhood and his own children’s lives as a guidepost to painting and writing, weaving the memories and stories of ordinary life to create the most cherished childhood stories.
Take for example one of the most exciting moments in a child’s life... losing their first tooth. Does anyone ever truly forget what it’s like to lose a tooth and the salty taste of the blood and the gap in your mouth? It’s a child’s badge of honor to lose a tooth and to display that toothy grin. This is one of the reasons One Morning in Maine is my second favorite children’s book. I absolutely love how Robert McCloskey brings the reader in close by basing his stories and surroundings of where he and his family lived. One Morning in Maine and Blueberries for Sal are two of four books that he based in Maine by the sea.
And this takes us to my third favorite all time children’s book written by yes... the same... Robert McCloskey, Make Way for Ducklings. This beautiful 1942 Caldecott Medal Winner was first published in 1941. Mr. McCloskey takes us on a journey through the beautiful city of Boston as seen through the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard as they search for the perfect home for their family. There are bumps and beeps along the way but in the end, they find the perfect location in the Boston Public Garden. This beloved story has captured the hearts of adults and children alike for several decades. A statue made by Nancy Schon sits in the Boston Public Garden for all to visit. I had the chance to visit this past fall.
As I was looking up information on Make Way for Ducklings, I came across this video that is too precious not to share.
Three of my favorite things to do... Enjoying a children’s book, having the author/illustrator pull us into his story with fabulous writing and pictures and a peppy little song made up to go along with the story. In the eyes and heart of this writer.... it’s the perfect combination.
Make Way for Ducklings(1941), Caldecott Medal winner
Blueberries for Sal(1948), a Caldecott runner-up
Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price(1951); also issued as More Homer Price