cover image The Snow Goose

The Snow Goose

Pirkko Vainio. NorthSouth, $14.88 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55858-195-1

Plot elements of The Snow Man and Charlotte's Web are evident in this story of a girl's affection for a wild bird. On one of the last days of winter, Anna builds a goose out of snow. Although it may strike some readers as odd, Anna doesn't make the connection between the disappearing bird and melted snow, and worries that if the goose ``has flown away . . . will she be able to find her way back here again?'' In the spring, when her grandfather carries home an ailing goose, Anna is certain that her snow goose has returned. Despite her efforts, the injured bird dies, leaving an egg, which Anna tends until it hatches. Anna's gosling grows into an affectionate companion, but when summer ends, nature takes its course and the young goose flies off with a passing flock. The translation of the choppy German text aims for the poetic, but often falls flat. More appealing are the soft, muted watercolors, which impart a dreamy quality and are more effective than the story at conveying the importance of the goose in the girl's world. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)