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Barbara Smucker.
Markham, ON: Viking Kestrel, 1987.
101pp., cloth, $12.95.
ISBN 0-670-81651-5. Distributed by Penguin Canada. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Geese-Juvenile fiction.
Mennonites-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10

Reviewed by Fran Newman.

Volume 16 Number 2
1988 March

Seven-year-old Jacob Snyder, youngest child in a family of much older siblings, is nicknamed "Little Jakie" and he hates being called that. On the very first page, a flock of wild geese returns to the Snyder farm area, and it is a pair of giant and rare Canada geese that figure in Jacob's growth from Little Jakie to a responsible and valued member of the family. Someone from the Ministry of Natural Resources approaches the father with a request to take care of a pair of the large birds. Jacob takes on the job of feeding and protecting them. Once a family of goslings appears, Jacob becomes even more devoted to his task. Jacob feels an especial affinity with the smallest goose - his Little Giant. There is tragedy in the loss and shooting of some of the babies, but in the end most of the bird family survives, including the wounded Little Giant, and Jacob proves to himself and his family that he can be depended on.

In the telling of this story, Barbara Smucker takes us inside a Mennonite family's life. The real Mr. Snyder, known as "Mr. Spud," did raise Canada geese in the fashion of this story and Smucker is generous in her thanks to him in an afterword.

There are pencil drawings throughout. I recommend this book very highly.

Fran Newman, Murray Centennial P.S., Trenton, ON.
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