What an unfortunate title for this wry twist on Are You My Mother. Insertion of the word “and” before “the” would so easily have eliminated the bawdy suggestion.
A fox is on a search for an edible present for his wife and steals a goose egg. “What a delicious surprise it will be when a roast goose hatches for dinner,” he thinks to himself. When he runs directly into a bear, though, he drops the egg. The bear picks it up, the egg hatches, and the gosling cries, “Mama!” The bear wants no part of being the gosling’s mother and tries to leave her behind, but the imprinted gosling clings to the bear. Thinking to prove that he is not the gosling’s mama, the bear proceeds to perform a series of actions he believes only bears can do: climbing, running fast and jumping into the river. In each case, the gosling manages to keep up using her own traits, each time calling, “Mama”—and ultimately endearing herself to the bear. But can she catch a salmon…? The fox lurks in the background throughout, ultimately unwittingly abetting the gosling’s final test of bearhood in a tongue-in-cheek turnaround. The cartoonish illustrations embellish the humor, with the colors washing over the definition lines and visible brush strokes.
This quixotic German import is entertaining, if you can get past the title. (Picture book. 4-7)