cover image You Silly Goose

You Silly Goose

Ellen Stoll Walsh. Harcourt Children's Books, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-299865-3

George, a mouse, brings news of a nearby fox when he visits his friend Emily and her newborn goslings. His description of the lurking animal--``big ears, bright eyes and sleek, shiny fur''--causes Emily's neighbor Lulu to insist that George himself must be the fox, as he fits that description. Lulu presses her point even after the fox appears; but during their discussion, George binds the predator's tail with a vine and so saves the day. Though Walsh's format is keyed to a very young audience--minimal text, bold and uncomplicated artwork--her plot is apt to confuse, for transitions are abrupt and readers are left to make several connections on their own. And while any single image is appealing, the illustrations as a whole become monotonous, with little variation in perspectives, composition or expression--nor are they used to advance the story as fully as they might be. A flat and muddled effort, especially disappointing in light of Walsh's ( Mouse Paint ) enchanting previous work. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)