Little Georgie's pre-dawn flights on the back of a friendly goose (she calls him her swan prince) are not burdened by the allegorical content that characterized the mind trips of older step-cousins Eleanor and Eddy in three previous Langton novels. Rather, intense Georgie is the innocent child in love with sweet nature (but not preciously so). She longs to fly, and the goose teaches her how--at Walden Pond, no less. But insensitive adults must interfere: banker Ralph Preek buys a gun and launches a personal vendetta against the "giant duck"; and his secretary Miss Prawn, Georgie's next-door neighbor, becomes concerned that Georgie is either a saint or a changeling, and the goose, accordingly, an angel or a fairy about to steal her away. (As for Transcendental College proprietor Uncle Freddie, whose flat-footed literary welcome had earlier scared the bird away, he comes to believe that Georgie's goose is Henry Thoreau himself, reincarnated.) With Mr. Preek stalking clumsily throughout, the inevitable tragedy occurs. Georgie recovers from the goose's death, as children will, but only after she has located its parting "present": a rubber ball that becomes, in the dark, a glowing image of the planet Earth. Except for an opening false-note prematurely espousing the goose's viewpoint, Langton makes Georgie's story a successful blend of humor, charm, pathos, family feeling, and that hint of something transcendent that lights up all her fantasies.