An enjoyable children’s book that should make better use of its educational aspects.

A Family of Geese

In this illustrated tale, a baby goose, the last of his clutch to hatch, learns the skills he’ll need to fit in with the other geese at the lake.

A mother goose has one egg left to hatch, but she worries it’s a dud. When it hatches while she’s taking her other goslings on a trip to the other side of the lake, the gosling’s Uncle Ray has to step in and help him get started. The mother and her other goslings are excited to meet the new baby when they return home, and the mother decides to name her only son Rufus, after his father. At first, he seems to be more rambunctious than his sisters, wanting only to swim and play rather than learn from his mother how to find the best grass and shelter. Finally, he begins to grow up a little and pay attention to his mother. The story, mostly told through dialogue between Rufus and his family, features cute, realistic illustrations of geese that children will enjoy, as well as settings done in a lovely watercolor style. Especially appealing is a spread of the goslings falling asleep; on the first page they’re curling up on the grass, and in the second they’ve tucked their heads under their wings and bunched up together to stay warm. Gummer’s story has a fairly effective lesson for why children should listen to parents and how, if children only do fun things like swimming all the time, they won’t learn the skills needed to become adults. However, the author could have strengthened this theme by focusing more on the results of Rufus’ actions; as is, conflicts are set up, but they don’t always have consequences, which might be a little confusing to small children. Finally, the story could have incorporated additional facts about geese—what they eat, how they sleep, whether they were preparing to fly south for the winter, etc.—to make the book more appealing for the classroom.

An enjoyable children’s book that should make better use of its educational aspects.

Pub Date: March 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-1480800267

Page Count: 34

Publisher: ArchwayPublishing

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2013

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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