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Tad Hills is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Duck & Goose. He is a painter, actor, and obsessive Halloween costume maker who has created several books for children. Tad lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and their two children.
In this sequel to Duck & Goose, a domineering girl duckling threatens the friendship between the boyish title characters. As the drama begins, Goose stands in a marsh, waiting expectantly for Duck. He cannot wait to show Duck the blue butterfly that has alighted on his head. Duck, meanwhile, is planning his own show-and-tell. "Just wait until Goose meets Thistle," he thinks as he and a new friend visit "all his and Goose's favorite spots... the lily pond and the shady thicket." When Duck and Thistle race up to Goose, Thistle frightens the butterfly and boasts, "once, three butterflies landed on my head at the same time!... That's two more butterflies than you had!" Thistle challenges Goose to races and a handstand contest, winning with ease; Duck is impressed, Goose feels dejected, and Thistle pirouettes proudly. In sunny oil paintings of green grass and blue sky, Hills depicts the overeager newcomer proving herself and driving a wedge between the pals. His tale echoes Kevin Henkes's Chester's Way, however this third wheel is not just assertive but obnoxious; Thistle is unlikable and, more generally, an off-putting portrait of a bratty, oblivious girl. Duck and Goose reconcile and get some peace by challenging Thistle to a napping contest ("I'm the fastest faller asleeper ever!" she proclaims), then the buddies play while she sleeps. However, silencing the bully is but a temporary fix. The book points out a common dilemma, leaving readers to strategize solutions. Ages 3-7. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
PreS-Gr 2-Three's a crowd in this follow-up to Duck & Goose (Random, 2006). Duck is smitten with his new friend, Thistle, who claims to be the fastest, smartest, strongest duck around. Goose is not as enthusiastic about the newcomer. At first he gamely tries to participate in her incessant contests, but eventually he wanders off sadly to look for butterflies by himself. A worried Duck follows him, and the reunited companions agree that they prefer their usual quiet activities to Thistle's manic pursuits. Accordingly, they trick her into winning a napping contest and then gratefully sneak off to play by themselves. While the story provides an interesting and lighthearted exploration of the issue of loyalty between friends, the resolution seems problematic. What will happen when Thistle wakes up? Will the three of them work out a way to play together? Will Thistle be excluded, or will Duck be pressured into participating in her games again? Perhaps these questions could open a class (or family) discussion about relationships. In any case, Hills's gauzy oil paintings of a hazy, sunlit landscape and endearing animals make this a book worth lingering over with a good pal.-Rachael Vilmar, Atlanta Fulton Public Library, GA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.