A drily entertaining version of the tale of the simpleton and his golden goose. Whoever touches the goose sticks to it, but the simpleton doesn't notice and wanders into a city where a king has issued a proclamation that anyone who can make his daughter laugh can marry her. The simpleton immediately heads for the palace, followed by a stuck chain of people and this parade makes the princess laugh. Then there is one more ordeal, which the simpleton easily carries out. Deadpan humor enlivens the telling, written in a style that is so elliptical as to make it read as if something were missing. The most prominent feature of the illustrations are the exaggerated and rigid outlines of angular characters and impossibly wobbly houses. Shulevitz (The Secret Room, 1993, etc.) achieves his strongest effects by putting the jagged, colored figures against white backgrounds. He deliberately creates dissonance between text and pictures, and the success of this varies from page to page: Several tableaux of trains of characters behind the oblivious simpleton are perfect in timing and delivery, but offer no clue as to why everyone comes unstuck.