“Anne Judith Kerr OBE (born 14 June 1923) is a German-born British writer and illustrator who has created both enduring picture books such as the Mog series and The Tiger Who Came To Tea and acclaimed novels for older children such as the autobiographical When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit which give a child’s-eye view of the Second World War.” (wiki) If you are a cat lover and have not read Judith Kerr’s Mog series, you are missing something. She also has a very unique child’s perspective on Nazi Germany. But back to this sweet Kerr story I discovered this week in Cambridge library. It has all the Kerr qualities I love in her picture books.
By Judith Kerr
Published by Harper Collins, 2001
Themes/Topics: Geese, loneliness
First Line/synopsis: “Once there was a goose called Katerina. Katerina was the only goose on her pond. There was no other goose. This made Katerina very sad.”
The village pond is full of all sorts of ducks and fish, surrounded by cats and dogs, but there was only one goose. Katerina felt deeply this loneliness. Occasionally Katerina spots one other goose on the side of Mr Buswell’s car, but this goose never came out to play. The whole village loved Katerina but her loneliness only grew. One dark Christmas evening she sought out the car once again to see if this other goose wasn’t ready to play, but dense snow covered all the vehicles and the goose was nowhere to be found. “It had come out. It had come out. It had come out at last!” In searching for her goose-friend, Katerina came across a mysterious man carrying a large goose-shaped sack, whom Katerina began to chase. Who is the man? Who is the mystery goose? Will Katerina be joined on the pond by another goose?
Why I like this book: I love the pastel, simple scenes of stereotypical English village life – the village pond, the butcher, the baker, the toy shop… Loneliness is a topic pretty much all kids can relate to, and Katerina is unswerving in her search for a friend, willing to take risks to find him. Young children may well predict the ending, but maybe not. They will certainly be happy that the Christmas village festivities set the scene for the triumph of good over evil!
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