The trouble with geese is . . . well, what isn't the trouble with geese? At least, that's what the one-eyed heron thinks in this gentle tale of teamwork and taking flight. Five fat geese reside, happily they believe, on their pond—as living ornaments next to the fake flamingoes, gnomes and other statuary. But their view beyond the pond grows, quite by happenstance, when a great blue heron (or Who-on, as the geese call it) gets lost on his migratory path. The motley crew of geese—led by the fearless Skylar—offer to lead him to Lost Pond to catch up with his flock. Curious adventure and unknown dangers await the rather sedentary pond geese as they take flight, eager to explore the world as wild geese do—exhilarated, unafraid, yet knowingly cautious. Guided by their "remembering lights," the geese (including the nervous Wheedle and pompous Roosevelt) make their way into the great blue unknown.
It's a journey of wills as the geese encounter each other's strengths and weaknesses along the way. Their first migration is also a journey of belonging and self-sufficiency, as the geese learn their place in the world outside their once comfortable perimeter. As the geese soon realize, the more places you go, the more language you learn and, in turn, the more places you remember. And though their roustabout travels are marked by challenge, the geese emerge forever changed—for better or worse—by the thousands of wing flaps they leave behind. First-time author Mary Cuffe-Perez has created a charming coming-of-age tale featuring anthropomorphic birds, each with its own likeable personality. Reminiscent of other animal camaraderie stories, such as The Incredible Journey and Charlotte's Web, Skylar will entice animal lovers and perhaps reluctant readers as well, eager to learn the fate of the feathered five.
Sharon Verbeten is a freelance writer and former children's librarian in De Pere, Wisconsin.