© Author Adventures

Ever see an actual Randolph Caldecott Medal? The Caldecott is a prestigious award given to children’s books, and the two awarded to Robert McCloskey can be seen at the Robert McCloskey Museum, which is part of The Heritage Hall Museum in Hamilton, where McCloskey was born and grew up. Hamilton has a population of approximately 62,000.

The two books that won McCloskey the Caldecott Medals are Make Way for Ducklings (1942) and Time of Wonder (1958). Other awards and items from his life are on display as well. (Also see Robert McCloskey through our Massachusetts section.)

After leaving Ohio, the human interaction with nature in Massachusetts and Maine inspired his writing, including his most popular books. Make Way for Ducklings is set in Massachusetts and Blueberries for Sal is set in Maine, where he eventually lived with his family.

To properly study his subjects, McCloskey bought “four squawking mallards” and took them home to his apartment. “I spent the next weeks on my hands and knees,” he said, “armed with a box of Kleenex and a sketchbook, following the ducks around the studio and observing them in the bathtub.” orrt.org/mccloskey

Visit our X-ultations page to learn about the Caldecott and other literary honors.

This is the second stop on our Ohio Trail!

Patricia Smart