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Reviewed by:
  • Duck, Duck, Moose by Mary Sullivan
  • Deborah Stevenson, Editor
Sullivan, Mary Duck, Duck, Moose; written and illus. by Mary Sullivan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021 [40p]
Trade ed. ISBN 9780358313496 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9780358278955 $12.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R Gr. K-2

Oh, no! Goose has gone missing! A human child enlists their friends Duck, Duck, and Moose and all head out to look for Goose. Sheep, Sheep, and Donkey point the way down a farm road, but the gate is locked, and the group’s attempts to retrieve the key end in bee-ridden disaster. The sad and worried crew give up for the day and tuck themselves up into bed, only to find a happily returned Goose. In the hands of master of verbal craftsmanship Mary Sullivan (Up on Bob, BCCB 1/20, etc.), this story becomes a snappy verse narrative, with each line of three monosyllabic words (“Where is Goose?”) building into a rhyming, repetitive stanza usually in aaba form (“Where is Goose?/ Where is Goose?” “Help, help, help . . . / Duck, Duck, Moose”). The result is a beginning reader that turns its restrictions into fodder for play, with the repetitions easing the read while ramping up the silliness, and spare, simple word choice (“Jump, jump, jump!”) contrasting with goofy sound effects (“BAM! BONK! THWACK!”) and the occasional comic turn of phrase (“DON’T FREAK OUT!” cries the moose, clearly freaking out). Smooth digital art offers wide-open picture-book spaces, with the figures possessed of a plump, toylike dimensionality. The plot logic doesn’t bear much scrutiny, but that’s not really the point; youngsters just starting out on the decoding trail will relish the frenzied hilarity in ridiculously restricted format. [End Page 316]



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