This sweet picture book takes many facts about the life of a Canada goose and puts it into an informational story. From how the goose makes a nest to when the goslings learn how to swim, this story tells what the first year of a gosling's life is like. For example, when the Canada goose comes back to the nest each day after quickly eating and taking a bath, the text reads, "She plucks more down from her breast and lets water from her feathers drip onto the eggs to keep them moist. She settles on the nest, pushing back the down cover with her feet. She turns the eggs over so they will warm evenly, something she does often." With so many animal facts packed into each page, little nature lovers will want to learn about the Canada goose family over and over again. The realistic illustrations allow readers to feel as if they are at Cattail Pond at the end of Cattail Lane with this gosling family. Reviewer: Joella Peterson
- Ken Marantz
In this informative addition to the "Smithsonian's Backyard" series, we follow a family of Canadian geese from their spring nesting to the fall migration. Details are clearly given on how the mother warms and turns the eggs while the gander keeps intruders away. Finally the eggs hatch and the education of the goslings begins. They swim, nip grass, avoid hungry gulls, learn to feed from the pond, preen, and practice getting ready to fly. In August they fly away, only to return for a new cycle in the spring. Naturalistic watercolor paintings fill double-page scenes with the dramatic story designed to involve the reader with the emotions inherent in the sequential episodes. The long wait while tending to the eggs is depicted with attention to the pattern of marsh grasses and the feathery pile of eggs. The close-up of the goose turning the eggs with her long black neck curving around them in what surely seems a loving gesture is typical of the artist's successful blending of natural history and esthetic sensibility. Additional facts and a glossary are appended.