SILLY GOOSE'S BIG STORY

Children will relish the scene of the happy reunion with a grateful Goose, who begins a new story about his best friends.

Goose’s friends beg him to tell them his wonderful stories, which they then act out when they play. The trouble is, Goose is always the hero.

Text appears in an easy-to-read font for those who are taking their first steps toward independent reading. The gouache illustrations are big, colorful and uncluttered so youngsters immediately recognize Squirrel, Beaver and Porcupine’s increasing unhappiness at playing second-string all the time. In a scene right out of preschool, the trio confronts Goose: “You always play the hero. Why can’t we take turns?” A wolf overhears them arguing, and, in a shift that feels more like real-life stranger-danger than fairy-tale big bad wolf, he leaps out to eat them. Goose’s friends escape, but Goose is caught and must use his wits to stay alive. He comes up with his biggest tale ever about a Wem—Wolf-Eating Monster—which the trusted trio enacts, surprising even Goose. Branches shake and a voice bellows (represented in big balloon type), “YUM, YUM, I smell a wolf …” Wolf bolts, and Goose is relieved to see his friends—true heroes—emerging from the trees.

Children will relish the scene of the happy reunion with a grateful Goose, who begins a new story about his best friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25542-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE SLEIGH!

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

THE INVISIBLE STRING

Sentimental but effective.

A book aimed at easing separation anxiety and reinforcing bonds.

Twins Liza and Jeremy awaken during a thunderstorm and go to their mother for comfort. She reassures them that they’re safe and says, “You know we’re always together, no matter what,” when they object to returning to bed. She then explains that when she was a child her mother told her about the titular “Invisible String,” encouraging them to envision it as a link between them no matter what. “People who love each other are always connected by a very special String made of love,” she tells them, reinforcing this idea as they proceed to imagine various scenarios, fantastic and otherwise, that might cause them to be separated in body. She also affirms that this string can “reach all the way to Uncle Brian in heaven” and that it doesn’t go away if she’s angry with them or when they have conflicts. As they go to bed, reassured, the children, who present white, imagine their friends and diverse people around the world connected with invisible strings, promoting a vision of global unity and empathy. While the writing often feels labored and needlessly repetitive, Lew-Vriethoff’s playful cartoon art enhances and lightens the message-driven text, which was originally published in 2000 with illustrations by Geoff Stevenson.

Sentimental but effective. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-48623-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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