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Skylar Hardcover – March 27, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—Five pond geese trade security for the exhilaration of freedom to lead a lost one-eyed heron to the migration gathering in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Foolhardy Skylar has some vague memories of his first migration when he was grounded and left behind during a storm. He leads opinionated Roosevelt, stalwart Esther, pudgy Loomis, and anxious little Weedle through several adventures and scrapes to their goal. Liwska's shaded black-and-white pencil renderings work with the text to give readers a strong sense of place. Realistic geese behaviors and touches of humor keep pace with strong themes (facing fears and learning through experience). Grounded in nature, like Donna Jo Napoli's Ugly (Hyperion, 2006), Skylar also includes a fatal scene with a hunter. The writing is strong, though a few wobbly phrases such as "The sun opened the horizon like an invitation" and geese descending from the sky "as if delivered of it" may need some clarification. With its evocative descriptions and some challenging vocabulary, this book makes a great read-aloud.—Susan Hepler, formerly at Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Can five overweight pond geese successfully go wild and migrate? They hope to, assuming they can stop squabbling long enough to pick a direction and fly. Skylar, the self-appointed leader, finds himself leading his motley flock on their first migration. Nature imagery and extensive information on the migratory habits of Canada geese infuse a text, punctuated by occasional soft, black-and-white full-page illustrations. Through a series of perilous encounters with storms, ice, and raccoons, the story builds slowly, filled with introspections about fear, danger, and what it means to be wild. The pace quickens when the geese talk with each other, their near constant bickering adding a dose of humor. Complex sentence structures and vocabulary make this a good choice for readers ready to move away from transitional books like Johanna Hurwitz’s Park Pals series into more realistic animal stories. Or use as a classroom read-aloud about teamwork, leadership, and rising above fear. Grades 3-5. --Suzanne Harold

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 940L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books (March 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039924543X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399245435
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,583,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carol L. Ray on May 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful and endearing story for the young and young at heart. You will feel like you are aloft with this little flock and also share in their adventure and wonder in all the unexpected challenges on the ground. Loaded with facts, philosophy and humor, this book keeps you charmed to the triumphant end. Don't be surprised if you hear yourself whisper "Skylar?" next time you spot those random geese flying up there in some haphazard formation, honking at one another. If you recognize the leader of the flock, it just might not be your imagination.
The lovely black and white drawings provide the perfect mood for the text and goings on in the story. I loved this story. I could not put this book down 'til I was done.

Carol Ray
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kim Brasfield on June 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Skylar" is a beautifully told, smart, entertaining gem of a book. Both child and adult readers will fall in love with this bumbling but brave group of pond geese as they struggle to remember just what makes them geese. Best of all, this book shares with the very best works of children's literature an opportunity for young readers to learn and stretch and grow just as the characters do. From new vocabulary words to lessons about nature to poetic imagery, readers are encouraged to "think" their way through the book rather than just follow the story. As the characters expand their own language and understanding of the world, so does the reader. That is an awfully big gift from such a little book, and well worth the read!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Earl S. Rosenbloom on April 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"The trouble with geese is that they're always stopping to think things over."

These lines are spoken by a one-eyed heron who has enlisted a flock of five out of shape suburban pond geese to help him migrate south. It is from a wonderful new book Skylar by Mary Cuffe-Perez.

Skylar is the story of five Canada geese who live an idyllic life as resident geese at a suburban man-made pond. However, these geese are envious of the wild geese that they observe migrating each fall. They have an opportunity to emulate their wild cousins when a lost one-eyed heron arrives at their pond and seeks aid in migrating.

Each of the five suburban geese has a unique and interesting personality. Readers will both laugh and cry as they follow the journey of the five Canada geese and the one-eyed heron. Although the book is marketed for young readers, everyone who reads it will love it. With the possible exception of Mel Ellis' extraordinary Wild Goose, Brother Goose this is the best novel ever written about geese.

Earl S. Rosenbloom, Ph.D.
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