Author(s): Suzanne Bloom
Stunning illustrations capture the exasperation of Bear, whose solitary reading and writing are continually interrupted by persistent Goose. In the end, Bear is won over and to his own surprise, declares Goose a Splendid Friend, Indeed! A very funny story with a warm message about not judging others.
4 stars: It is the 'splendid' illustrations that really make this book. The large white polar bear and the cheekily intrusive goose are full of life, and the heavenly blue background manages to reflect both the bear's grumpiness and goose's flighty self-assuredness. Goose's facial expressions make him loveable in spite of his bumptiousness. Parents will recognise and enjoy the desire to have time to oneself in spite of demanding little ones. Books for Keeps Bloom conveys both characters clearly and with great humour. The illustrations are very welcoming, particularly the texture of Bear's fur. A lovely book to share with very young children. Ibby Link
Suzanne Bloom in her own words: I come from cowboys and I come from Queens. Let me explain. My grandfather's saddle was stored in the basement of our house in Portland, Oregon. I remember its leather smell and how it creaked when I straddled it - and his cowboy boots... My dad's job took us east when I was five, and we lived in a hotel in New York City, almost like Eloise, until we moved to a garden apartment in Queens. When I was in Primary school, girls were not allowed to play with the blocks or trucks. Can you imagine that? My friends and brother and I built roads and villages for our Dinkey cars all the time. We made up scenes and acted them out. We made up games and stayed outside playing until the street lights came on. We didn't get into much trouble because somebody's mother always knew what we kids were up to. Our neighbours came from China, Russia, England and France. Some of them ended up in my books. My family and I - one husband, two sons, several combinations of cats and dogs, have lived in the country in upstate New York for 25 years or so, surrounded by trees and weedy gardens.