YOU may not know Boston, but chances are your elementary-school-age friends know the Boston Public Garden. The Mallard family of ducks from Robert McCloskey's classic children's book, ``Make Way for Ducklings,'' has taken care of that.
You see, according to Mr. McCloskey, Mrs. Mallard led her eight ducklings from the Charles River across Beacon Street into the garden to ``their'' pond, also known for its pedal-paddled swan boats.
And if you walk the same path yourself today, you'll see them for real - well, almost real.
There they are along the side of the path, walking toward the duck pond.
Proud, contented, fearless Mrs. Mallard waddles bigly to the fore, recklessly disregarding her tripping, innocent, delightful brood.
Oh, they're three-times life size, sculpted in bronze by Nancy Sch"on - and well protected by anchors under Belgian paving stones. Unlike real ducks, children can climb aboard these, and that was the sculptor's intent.
If your child-friend can't get here for a ``ride,'' at least ask if he or she can identify from the photos which is Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack.
Mother is easy.