From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—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 Vilmar, Atlanta Fulton Public Library, GA
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In Duck & Goose
(2005), the characters became friends after tussling over a soccer ball. Here, their friendship is tested with another duck. Goose likes to meander through the meadow, but Duck's new friend, Thistle, has a competitive edge; she shows off her math skills, challenges Goose to a breath-holding contest, and proves she can stand on her head longer than anyone else. Duck is delighted, but Goose is worn out. The narrative doesn't really explain why Duck, after exhibiting such pleasure in Thistle, turns on her (though given the rather long text, Thistle's pushy enthusiasm may tire the audience, as well). Nevertheless, Duck finally seeks out Goose, and together they allow Thistle to win a new contest: she falls asleep first, and they go to play. The intrusive friend is a children's book staple, but here it plays out with cute rubber ducky-like characters, who exemplify what real kids feel. Sunny colors add to the appeal. Pair with Diane de Groat's Last One in Is a Rotten Egg
(2007), about a competitive cousin. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved