Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyMagnolia the goose, who made a cameo appearance in Johnson's The Pig Who Ran a Red Light, becomes an adoptive mother in this third book about an unconventional farm. Amid a rural vista of steep blue hillsides, wood-frame barns and a dusty dirt path, Magnolia plays with a rubber ducky. Later, she sits on a basket of Easter eggs. "Magnolia wants to be a mama," realizes Miss Rosemary, a white-haired, spinsterly farmer. "Well, quit your fretting, dear. That sort of thing happens in its own good time." When Magnolia gets offended and gives this book its title, her barnyard friends fear that she has run off to join the Ding-a-Ling Circus, conspicuously advertised on the endpapers and on a poster that adorns a ramshackle shed. Johnson piques interest in the circus, then avoids doing the expected. Magnolia is not interested in show-biz, and a placard touting the "world's cutest baby elephant" offers the real key to the outcome. Johnson plays to his fans with bit parts for Gertrude the cow and George the pig (who don baby bonnets and "gosling" beaks to assuage Magnolia's maternal instincts), and provides his trademark, light-speckled Appalachian settings. With the addition of the elephant, he sacrifices a modicum of rustic charm, but sets up a sequel to this tall tale: the Ding-a-Ling Circus promises to return "same time next year." Ages 3-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalPreS-Gr 2-Readers are treated to another delightful visit to Miss Rosemary's farm. Magnolia, a melancholy goose, harbors strong maternal urges. Her inclinations manifest themselves in some curious behavior. First, she borrows the pig's favorite rubber ducky. Then she tries to hatch the Easter eggs for the Easter Social. Finally, when she tries to teach baby chicks how to swim and nearly drowns them in the process, Miss Rosemary understands. After admonishing Magnolia that motherhood will happen "in its own good time," the goose stalks off in a huff. When she hasn't returned by morning, Miss Rosemary checks everywhere-even at the visiting circus. The shed turns out to be Magnolia's hideaway, but no amount of coaxing or trickery lures her out. That is, until the circus train leaves behind an unlikely young creature for her to mother. Comical, cartoonlike yet painterly illustrations perfectly suit this entertaining tale. Miss Rosemary's charming country lilt comes through effectively in the text, making this a read-aloud full of personality. This gem is destined to be a storytime favorite.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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