Early one spring, a girl is delighted when a flock of Canada geese arrive in her yard, but she is stricken when she realizes one of the geese has an injured foot. The next day, the foot is gone, and the girl wonders how a one-legged goose can possibly survive. In spite of her parents’ advice to let the wild animal learn to survive on its own, the girl feeds Goose cracked corn and keeps an eye out for her. One day in the fall, the geese are gone—all of them. The seasons turn, and the geese return, but this time, it’s only two: Goose, still with a foot missing, and a big, healthy gander. Best of all, seven goslings soon appear—all with both feet intact. The heartbreaking, ultimately hopeful story is based on a real goose from author Best’s (Shrinking Violet, 2001, etc.) own yard, making the happy ending touching rather than overly sentimental. The interplay between the text and the earthy, cut-paper illustrations is remarkable; while the text does not spell out what’s happened to Goose’s foot, the images of the injured limb evoke shock and sadness. Meade (Queenie Farmer Had Fifteen Daughters, p. 488, etc.) employs a woodsy palette of browns, greens, and blues. A variety of perspectives draws readers into the text: some scenes are portrayed from the girl’s point of view, others from Goose’s, some from the ground, some from the sky. Art and story complement each another again at the end: the final, spot illustration of Goose nuzzling one of her goslings on the pond while the girl’s oar drips in the background is an enlarged portion of the previous spread, and the girl’s amazed words repeat: “ ‘Look at you,’ I whisper, ‘Look at you.’ ” Quietly joyful, satisfyingly optimistic. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-374-32750-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2002

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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