Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not Eggs-actly!: Duck and Goose by Tad Hills

In a feathered "finders-keepers, losers-weepers" squabble, a little duck and a little goose find a large, roundish, spotted object in the field. It's an egg, right? In their limited experience, it's an egg, and they immediately dispute ownership. Duck "saw it first," but goose "touched it first."

The quarrel threatens to turn a bit testy until the two begin to think about the baby growing inside their egg. Protectively, Duck and Goose scramble to sit atop the egg to keep it warm, and both manage to perch precariously back-to-back on top.

"Scoot over. I don't have any room," complained Duck.

"You are much closer to me than I am to you."

"Stop yelling in my ear, Goose!"

"Shhhh..." Goose hushed, pointing at the round thing beneath them.

Quietly, Duck and Goose continue their quarrel about ownership of the baby inside the egg. Duck insists that it must be taught to quack. Goose insists that honking is the way to go. But then the two pseudo-parents come to common ground.

"I am going to teach the baby bird to waddle," Goose added.

"So am I," Duck said.

Duck and Goose agree that both of them can teach the baby to swim and fly, and the two sit patiently atop their charge, through sun and moon, rain and shine, as they await the big event.

Then one day, they feel something that means the big moment is coming. What to do? Goose suggests remaining calm. Then they notice a small bluebird giving the egg an experimental kick. She excuses herself and suggests that they play together. "I just thought that maybe I could play with your ball. It really is a nice one," she says.

"Did she say ball?" Goose gulps and whispers to Duck. The two ponder the unthinkable for a moment and immediately begin to spin the situation.

"I did have my doubts," said Duck.

"Yes, and I must say, I was somewhat suspicious of those big dots," Goose admitted

With the resilience of their tender years, the two decide the ball is definitely a keeper, and immediately make the best of the outcome by kicking their new toy down the field, where "sometimes, it even flew."

Tad Hills' Duck and Goose, an ALA Notable Book, is sure to hit a nerve with children who have argued over possession rights and found a way to compromise and enjoy the fun. The bright, appealing illustrations and the absolutely simple silliness of the two little ones' rivalry over hatching a polka-dotted ball will have children giggling, "That's not an egg!" but laughing sympathetically all the way through.

For more Duck and Goose fun, see also Tad Hills' What's Up, Duck? and Duck & Goose, How Are You Feeling?

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