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'Duckling' theft ruffles feathers - City feeling a little down over swiping of popular statue

"Jack," who waddled first in line behind his mother in the beloved Make Way for Ducklings statue, has been ripped from his cement base in Bostonís Public Garden and spirited away.

Jack will be replaced, but his loss is deeply felt.

"Weíre very distressed," said Peter Cook, minister at Plymouth Church in Framingham, as he sat on a park bench watching his two young nephews play on the ducklings. "Itís like stealing the Mona Lisa for children."

Boston residents and visitors have flooded the switchboards at City Hall and the Parks Department to express their anger at the crime.

The Make Way for Ducklings statue was installed in 1987 as a tribute to the classic childrenís tale about a mother duck, Mrs. Mallard, leading her ducklings through Boston to her home in the Public Garden. The book was written by Robert McCloskey and in 1941 won the Caldecott Medal, which is awarded annually to the best picture book for children.

Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings are among the most photographed attractions in Boston. Children from around the world clamber onto their bronze backs every day of the year.

Jack is not the first to be stolen. His siblings Quack and Mack have also been swiped. If he is not returned, Jack will be replaced within two months.

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