CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 17. . . .January 7, 2011
"Gadzooks," Grandpa grumbles after seeing the mess left by the storm. When he finds an injured Canada goose, however, he starts to consider putting goose on the menu for Christmas dinner. His granddaughter, Corina, befriends the goose and tries to protect him as his curiosity leads him from mishap to mishap – always one feather closer to the Christmas roasting pan.
Jennifer McGrath Kent deftly handles her characterization of the grumpy grandpa and bumbling goose in this whimsical Christmas tale. As always, Kent excels at setting the scene while moving the story forward with her particularly effective word choice and cadence of writing. She has an innate sense of how much description is required to set the scene and knows when to pare down to the bare plot line.
The humour and sweetness of Kent's story is ably illustrated by Ivan Murphy's antique-toned watercolours. Murphy's ability to depict movement personifies the mess the goose continually leaves behind him.
Murphy's paintings take the reader to the coast of New Brunswick to depict the winds that could blow a goose into the life of a little girl. Murphy is very effective in evoking a sense of nostalgia and history through his use of sepia tones for the backgrounds of his paintings. Stylistically, his palette is filled with the colours of Christmas. Reds, yellows, and greens fill his pages, but he mutes them to create a feeling of a great memory being shared among friends.
I wouldn't want a goose in my house – especially at Christmas, but Gadzooks is welcome to share our shelf of Christmas favourites; as long as he stays in the book where he belongs. Gadzooks: The Christmas Goose will be a particularly effective read-aloud.
Jonine Bergen is a librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.