Church, C.J. (2003). One Smart Goose. New York: Orchard Books.
One little goose isn't like the others. All of his gaggle-mates like to keep clean and pick on the dirty goose for not doing the same. But when a fox makes its monthly attack on the geese, the gaggle soon learns that there just might be a benefit to being a dirty goose.
As with so many of Church's picturebooks, the illustrations are colorful and enjoyable and the story uses animals to describe a tension that is central to a young reader's life. Of course, this book does have the potential snaffoo of discouraging bathing...but kids will like that (parents, not so much).
I didn't like the way this book ends. I won't tell you exactly how. But Church quite literally included the line that the goose "was never lonely again."
Really? Never? Never-ever? I know there are many wonderful reasons to share narratives with kids about how an outsider will--one day soon--belong. But at the same time, those other geese weren't smart and they wouldn't listen to the dirty goose. Does the dirty little goose really want to be a part of that gaggle?
And how about the fact that even children who often "belong" feel lonely from time to time? Shouldn't books for young readers address that?
One Smart Goose is a good book to share with young children who feel like they are outsiders or feel like the other children don't understand them.
Other options include discussing weather patterns and how to tell a snowstorm is approaching, or discussing proper bathing techniques.
Quotes of Note:
"Down on the farm lived a gaggle of geese.
They were shiny and clean.
Even their beaks gleamed.
All the geese that is, except one."
"The other geese laughed at him.
"Look at that dirty goose!" they honked."
"A full moon meant only one thing...
...the fox would come!