In this sequel to Duck & Goose, a domineering girl duckling threatens the friendship between the boyish title characters. As the drama begins, Goose stands in a marsh, waiting expectantly for Duck. He cannot wait to show Duck the blue butterfly that has alighted on his head. Duck, meanwhile, is planning his own show-and-tell. "Just wait until Goose meets Thistle," he thinks as he and a new friend visit "all his and Goose's favorite spots... the lily pond and the shady thicket." When Duck and Thistle race up to Goose, Thistle frightens the butterfly and boasts, "once, three butterflies landed on my head at the same time!... That's two more butterflies than you had!" Thistle challenges Goose to races and a handstand contest, winning with ease; Duck is impressed, Goose feels dejected, and Thistle pirouettes proudly. In sunny oil paintings of green grass and blue sky, Hills depicts the overeager newcomer proving herself and driving a wedge between the pals. His tale echoes Kevin Henkes's Chester's Way, however this third wheel is not just assertive but obnoxious; Thistle is unlikable and, more generally, an off-putting portrait of a bratty, oblivious girl. Duck and Goose reconcile and get some peace by challenging Thistle to a napping contest ("I'm the fastest faller asleeper ever!" she proclaims), then the buddies play while she sleeps. However, silencing the bully is but a temporary fix. The book points out a common dilemma, leaving readers to strategize solutions. Ages 3-7. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Old friends Goose and Duck return in a situation that many youngsters will recognize. Duck can't wait to introduce his new girlfriend, Thistle, to Goose. Thistle is enthusiasm personified, as well as being a mistress of one-up-man-ship. At first Duck joins in the contests she proposes to prove that she is the best, at counting, or racing, or balancing on a log. Goose, meanwhile, decides he'd rather look for butterflies. But Duck begins to tire of Thistle's games. He misses Goose. When he finally finds him, they both admit that they'd rather do the things they have always done quietly together. When Thistle finds them, they have worked out their own happy ending. The tale begins on the front end-papers, showing the three tiny characters in a peaceful green landscape. On the back end-papers, Duck and Goose are playing ball in the same landscape as Thistle sleeps under a bush. In the spirit of the simple text, the oil-paintedillustrations use vignettes and an occasional double-page scene to set the stage for the gentle fun and games. These are anthropomorphic, a bit cartoony creatures sporting as typical youngsters.
School Library Journal
Three's a crowd in this follow-up to Duck & Goose (Random, 2006). Duck is smitten with his new friend, Thistle, who claims to be the fastest, smartest, strongest duck around. Goose is not as enthusiastic about the newcomer. At first he gamely tries to participate in her incessant contests, but eventually he wanders off sadly to look for butterflies by himself. A worried Duck follows him, and the reunited companions agree that they prefer their usual quiet activities to Thistle's manic pursuits. Accordingly, they trick her into winning a napping contest and then gratefully sneak off to play by themselves. While the story provides an interesting and lighthearted exploration of the issue of loyalty between friends, the resolution seems problematic. What will happen when Thistle wakes up? Will the three of them work out a way to play together? Will Thistle be excluded, or will Duck be pressured into participating in her games again? Perhaps these questions could open a class (or family) discussion about relationships. In any case, Hills's gauzy oil paintings of a hazy, sunlit landscape and endearing animals make this a book worth lingering over with a good pal.
Rachael VilmarCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Hooray! Duck and Goose are back. The two young avian chums have been running through the meadow, watching clouds and partaking of other leisurely pursuits, but when Duck brings a newcomer named Thistle into the mix, everything changes. Thistle is one competitive duck, and after a series of contests in which the boastful Thistle is the inevitable winner, a frustrated Goose wanders off to look for butterflies. Duck searches for and eventually finds Goose, and the two commiserate: While they admire Thistle's prowess, they would rather play just for fun. After engaging the intrepid Thistle in a napping contest, which she, exhausted from her busy day, naturally wins, Duck and Goose are free to kick their ball in peace. One hopes that in the next installment, Thistle may learn a thing or two, but at least Duck and Goose have figured out how to handle her. The charming illustrations portray this tale of friendship perfectly, and the text, reminiscent of The Story of Ferdinand, is, like Hills's first in the series, energetic, appealing and filled with warmth. (Picture book. 3-6)