Picture- and board-book duo Duck and Goose get the early-reader treatment.
Duck has a gift for his pal Goose—and it’s not even Goose’s birthday! The friendliest fowl around, Duck puts this gift (a mystery to readers) in a white box, paints the box in colorful stripes, and ties a ribbon around it. To top it off, he even includes a handmade card. Goose arrives on the scene and starts honking questions about the present. As soon as Goose realizes the box is for him—and is a convenient receptacle for all his “special things”—he rushes off to gather his many treasures. When Goose returns, Duck tells his hasty friend the box is not the actual gift and invites him to open it, which Goose does to discover…another box! Using a vocabulary of around 60 unique words (usually 8 or fewer per page) Hills successfully shepherds the duo into their newest format. Rather than using italics, the design underlines a few words for emphasis. The spare mixed-media illustrations directly correlate to the text, featuring one or both birds in a patch of grass set against an ample solid white background. In addition to aiding decoding, the book’s predictable pattern contributes to its well-paced comedic moments. On one spread, for instance, Goose unexpectedly breaks the fourth wall in a moment of heightened emotion.
Fans of Duck and Goose can happily take the pair with them as they move toward independent reading. (Early reader. 4-7)