Nonfiction Monday: Honk, Honk, Goose!: Canada Geese Start A Family

Honk, Honk, Goose!: Canada Geese Start A Family
by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Huy Voun Lee
Ages 4-8
32 pages
Henry Holt and Co., April 2009
We have lots and lots and lots (did I mention lots?) of geese around here.  In mild weather, we sometimes run across six or seven or fifty in the pond, lawns, road and parking lots around our home.  Geese are, to put it mildly, pests.  They leave poop all over the lawn... and really, that's enough to label them as pests.  They are also pretty aggressive about protecting their admittedly cute babies.  So I was pleased to come across this nonfiction picture book about the darker side of geese.

The book is full of onomatopoetic expressions of daddy goose (er, gander) hissing and honking at all the dangers that threaten his young.  I can imagine my lively first graders enjoying making the noises right along with the story.  

I especially appreciated the way the illustrator clearly portrayed the goose family interacting with its environment, especially other wetland animals.  In a world of books with glorious Eyewitness white backgrounds, it's not always easy for children to infer context.  This book gave the geese a home.  I would use this as an introductory text when teaching about freshwater animals to older students, and ask them to identify some essential questions they might ask when researching their chosen animal or predator/prey pairs. 

Ivy liked the baby geese and the honking and hissing from the papa goose, and asked for it to be read again.  She wanted to know about the broken egg (would be fun to pair with Mini Grey's Egg Drop!).  We saw some parallels with one of her favorite board books, All My Little Ducklings by Monica Wellington -- another one done with cut paper, if I'm not mistaken.

Awesomeness: 6 - I felt like I was walking into a local wetland!
Wordsmithing: 6 - simple story and lyrical tone coupled with onomatopoeia make it perfect for large or small group sharing
Mesmerizitude: 5 - an enjoyable picture book
Illustrations: 6 - cut paper done well, with a simple and realistic color scheme
Factfulness (nonfiction): 6 - an introductory text about geese raising young, with a focus on the role of the father