Thursday, December 04, 2008

Review: Goose and Duck

by Jean Craighead George, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. HarperCollins, 2008. An "I Can Read" book level 2 (reading with help). This is another beginning reader that has been nominated for a Cybils Award for 2008. In the dedication by Ms. George says, "To Craig George, who was imprinted as "mother" on the wild pets Goose and duck. that's how it is with birds." We can surmise from this that George is writing the story based on a real life experience. When my brother was in graduate school for biology he spent a Thanksgiving break away from our family because he had to stay at school in the lab with the baby geese that had just hatched. They were part of his research project and they had imprinted on him. He was acting as their "mother". We thought it amusing but we missed his company. Maybe that's why I can relate so well to this book.

In this story a boy finds a goose egg and when it hatches the little goose follows him around copying his every move. Then he finds a duck egg and the duckling imprints on his goose. Hilarity ensues when they copy each other in a chain reaction. Things get even more complicated when goose and duck awake in the night and decide to go out searching for more mothers. They end up at the police station where they are helping to wash patrol cars. The boys rides his bike down there in alarm the next morning, thinking they got arrested. After the birds swirl the captain's papers all over the office the boy is able to bring them home again.

My six year old is totally into this story at this point. George does a masterful job of making a really complex and fascinating tale in simple, straightforward language that beginning readers can grasp. The large print, repetition and white space add to the appeal. Lamont's illustrations are comical and endearing. I especially like how the boy puts his pets to sleep in boxes next to his bed.

In the fall the birds have grown up and are ready to fly away south with their own kind. The boy is briefly saddened, but since he knows who he is and how much his family loves him, he can let them go with grace. We really enjoyed this story and highly recommend it to young readers.


Michele Thornton said...

Perfect for my six-year-old daughter!

Sarah Stevenson said...

Sounds very cute--can't wait for my nephew to be old enough for this one. I'll be posting this review on the Cybils site later this week!