Review of Duck & Goose: A Gift for Goose

Duck & Goose: A Gift for Goose [Step into Reading]
by Tad Hills; illus. by the author
Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    32 pp.
1/19    978-0-525-64490-3    $4.99    
Library ed.  978-0-525-64491-0    $12.99    
e-book ed.  978-0-525-64492-7    $4.99 

For certain kids, the box can be the best part of a gift — especially when it’s as enticing as the one Duck is about to give to Goose (Duck & Goose, rev. 1/06, and sequels) at the start of this entertaining early reader. “Duck has a gift for Goose. He puts it in a box.” The box is plain and white, but not for long. Duck carefully paints primary-colorful stripes on the outside and adds a neat blue bow to the top. No sooner does he finish than Goose arrives. Duck presents the package to his friend — who thinks the box is the present: “For me? Thank you! It is the nicest box I have ever seen!” Duck tries to correct the mistake (“But…”) while Goose eagerly gathers “special things” to put in the box. There’s an emotional beat when Duck does finally get Goose’s attention: “But, Goose…This box is not your gift.” “It is not mine?” But a page-turn brings quick resolution: phew, yes, of course it is your box, Goose, but let’s look at what’s inside. By now readers and listeners will be eager to see — and it’s crystal-clear (from what came before in the story) that this is the perfect gift for Goose. Age-appropriate foreshadowing, vocabulary repetition, visual jokes and recognizable emotions in very unfussy illustrations, and a good payoff make for an enjoyable outing with Duck and Goose.

From the January/February 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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