by Molly Bang

In these years when big flashy picture books have become the norm, it is almost a... read more

In these years when big flashy picture books have become the norm, it is almost a relief to find a small-sized (7 1/4" x 5 1/2") book with a substantial story. Three nearly wordless double-page spreads dramatically set the scene as a goose egg falls out of its nest during a violent rainstorm and rolls down a hole, into a den of woodchucks. It hatches soon thereafter and the woodchucks immediately accept their newest family member. Never cognizant of the fact that she is not a woodchuck, the gosling grows to adulthood learning to do all the things woodchucks do: digging holes, sunning by a stream and, of course, chucking wood. But she never feels completely at home in her family and she eventually realizes that she must set off on her own to see if she can find what she is missing. The misplaced egg story has been told many times before but rarely with such gentle understatement as we see here. And never has an egg found a more unlikely foster family! Bang's restrained use of anthropomorphism adds a great deal of visual humor to the story, as she playfully depicts the absurdity of a goose living a woodchuck's life. She puts a bit of a twist on the story's conclusion as well. The goose's great moment of self-discovery is not that she is a goose, but that she can fly. "She flew and flew and flew all the way home," we are told, and we see the goose reunited with a family of very happy woodchucks. Winner, 1996 CCBC Caldecott Award Discussion (Ages 2-5)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1996

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