cover image I Am Goose!

I Am Goose!

Dorothia Rohner, illus. by Vanya Nastanlieva. Clarion, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-328-84159-9

When Goose asks to play a game that’s already in progress, other animals make room for the bird in their circle, while a squirrel on a branch above, munching popcorn with two pals, sagely predicts trouble ahead (“Bad idea”). As it turns out, the game, officiated by a bossy rabbit, is “Duck, Duck, Goose,” and the feisty newcomer becomes increasingly agitated as other players are designated as “Goose.” Calling a time-out, the ruffled fowl compiles a list of reasons why only a goose fits the bill: Chicken has “skinny” rather than webbed feet, “F-O-X has F-U-R” rather than feathers, Turtle has a shell, and Dodo is extinct and “SHOULD NOT EVEN BE HERE!” After Rabbit reboots the game and the bird is finally tapped to play the eponymous role, Goose is awash with elation and self-importance (“I am Goose!”) until a brace of ducks joins in, unleashing identity mayhem once again. Fetching mixed media pictures by Nastanlieva (The Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep) augment punchy speech balloons to delineate the animals’ personalities, most dynamically those of clamorous Goose and Rabbit. Rohner’s (Numbers in a Row) sly narrative can be read as commentary on inclusion, patience, and following rules—or as simple, plucky good fun. Ages 4–7. [em]Author’s agent: Laura Biagi, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Frances McKay, Frances McKay Illustration. (Feb.) [/em]