- Grade Level: Preschool and up
- Board book: 32 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick; Brdbk edition (February 10, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0763641413
- ISBN-13: 978-0763641412
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,558,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Silly Suzy Goose Board book – February 10, 2009
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The art jumps off the pages, a fitting verb for a clever, clever book, alive in every way.
—Booklist (starred review)
Animal movements and sounds, along with the large, bright pictures and interesting compositions, make this an attractive choice to share with young audiences.
—School Library Journal
Attractive mixed-media illustrations, and a well-designed cover, utilize bright colors, textures and size contrasts to energize the spare shapes.
The poster-like impact of the pictures, combined with Suzy's featherbrained adventure scheme, should strike a chord with young audiences.
About the Author
PETR HORACEK is a Czech illustrator and painter whose previous books include RUN MOUSE, RUN!; BIRD FLY HIGH; A NEW HOUSE FOR MOUSE; STRAWBERRIES ARE RED; and WHEN THE MOON SMILED. About SILLY SUZY GOOSE, he says, "Suzy Goose is a goose like any other, but she is not quite happy about it. This book is about what Suzy Goose learns on her way to 'being different.' " Petr Horacek trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and then worked as a graphic designer before moving to England, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.
Top customer reviews
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There are plenty of geese in the world, and they all look mighty similar to Suzy. One day, Suzy gets it into her head that she'd like to be a little different. With that in mind, she sets out to observe a variety of different animals and mimic them. Says Suzy, "If I was a toucan, I could make a loud SQAWK", or, "If I was an elephant, I could splish and SPLASH". She compares herself to a great many animals until she sees a lion. Not willing to leave well enough alone when her "RROARRHONK" fails to get the great beast's attention, Suzy disturbs the lion's sleep and finds herself pursued. She makes it all the way back to the other geese using the sounds and moves she learned from the other animals. Once amongst them, the lion can't figure out which one is Suzy. The goose briefly ponders whether it is actually better to be just like everyone else. Then, once the lion's gone, lets loose with a mighty, "Rroarrhonk!", proving that being the same is nice sometimes, "but not always".
Author/illustrator Petr Horacek hails originally from the Czech Republic. Now the only other artist I can think of to claim any association with that region is the internationally acclaimed Peter Sis. You could hardly find art any MORE different than Horacek's is from Sis'. Where Sis is all tiny dots and miniscule text, Horacek revels in big bold colors and simple words. His board books until now (like "Bird, Fly High" and "Run, Mouse, Run!") are delightful little exercises in misleadingly simple stories. In the case of "Silly Suzy Goose", he's gone all out art-wise. The bright orange endpapers, all slashes and bold strokes of color, are some of the loveliest I've ever had a chance to see. In this book he's employed some pretty fancy dancy mixed-media as well. Suzy is simultaneously clumsy and adorable. Whether she's riding on the back of a particularly lovely ostrich or hanging upside down with a bat, she just looks like she's have a fantastic time. Plus the book's large font and simple type makes it ideal for kids who are learning to read on their own. How could any cold-hearted monster of a reviewer find anything to object to?
Let's talk grammar. More specifically, the lack thereof. The repeated phrase in this book is, "If I was a [enter animal here] I could [enter action here]". If I "was"??? I'm about to get all grammar-policeish here, so you may wish to take a step back. Why on earth say "was" instead of "were"? Think about it. Topol did not sing, "If I Was a Rich man", in Fiddler On the Roof. Tim Hardin didn't come up with the song, "If I Was a Carpenter". At first I thought that perhaps this was a matter of poor translation. Horacek's native language is not, after all, English. Maybe he's just suffering at the hands of a lazy translator. Unfortunately a quick scan of the publication page reveals that no such translator exists. Okay, fine. He obviously wrote the book himself and flubbed a bit of odd English phrasing. It could've happened to anyone. Anyone, that is, who didn't have an editor who's very JOB was to catch this sort of thing. So why did the editor let this one go, thereby assuring that libraries and parents would buy it in limited numbers? It must have come down as a creative decision. Candlewick Press is hardly a small time publisher. Still, was there any debate over this questionable choice of phrasing? We may never know. Just wonder what could have been instead.
None of this is to say the book isn't cute. I was determined to love and adore it and praise its name unto the heavens when I flipped through its mighty pretty pages. If I'd been a lazy reviewer and just scanned the text rather than read it myself, I might have given it an unequivocal thumbs up. There will certainly be parents and customers who read my review with a slight sneer and laugh at what they deem my overly concerned problem with the language. Here's the deal though, folks. There's a world of different between the bad grammar your child gets from the average Cookie Monster segment on Sesame Street and the poor use of "was" here. It may only be a tiny fly in the ointment, but because of an editorial decision, "Silly Suzy Goose" may find itself on less Best Books lists than it would have deserved with a strategically placed "were" here and there. Still a lovely title. Just a frustrating one.
Back home, where she hides from the lion by blending in among the other geese, Suzy can't resist a last, leonine roar.
Czech author and illustrator Petr Horacek uses a variety of painting techniques to highlight the differences between simple, silly Suzy and the bold, colorful animals she tries to copy. Especially effective is a close-up of the napping lion's face, one eye opening ominously as Suzy's brash roar wakes him.
Preschoolers busy exploring their own sense of self will love Suzy and laugh at her antics. Read-aloud parents will appreciate the story's subtle affirmation that both individuality and conformity have their place in life. Suzy Goose may be silly herself, but her story is witty and clever.
I'm a grammar freak usually, but I didn't even notice the "was" thing. It's not a big deal to me, and didn't get on my nerves.