Thursday, March 6, 2008

Stewed Goose

Stewed Goose
James Flora
Atheneum, 1973

I'm not quite sure if my son gets that this book is about a bear trying to assassinate a goose, but he has to be able to pick up the sinister yet hilarious undertones throughout no matter how young he is.

Mr. Benjamin B. Bear decides he is sick of eating just berries and honey, and sets his mind to stewing the innocent gosling Walker Goose. He hatches one elaborate plan after another, each one failing miserably, until at last, he gives up and has his goose stew sans goose.

All of Mr. Flora's books are big on the absurd, and this one delights. The four-tone illustrations are really fun to look at and the story outlandish. The bear spends so much time and money and effort on getting this goose, that it hardly seems worth it. I mean, in a land where bears eat at the dinner table and fowls go to school, you'd think he could get something good to eat at the market, no? But you can't blame a bear for trying. At one point, he seems poised to off little Walker with a frying pan. In another scene, he cons the goose into getting his portrait taken when really the camera is just a gun in disguise. Perhaps he will be able to crush him with a balloon filled with cement? Yea, the violence in this one is pretty intense, but it is cartoonish. (Ah, Wile E. Coyote... isn't that what they all say?)

"Two big things I learned today," he said to himself. "A goose stew is very hard to cook and people with false faces shouldn't shake pepper shakers."

Don't ask... you'll have to see that one for yourself.

Also by:
Kangaroo for Christmas
Grandpa's Farm
Pishtosh Bullwash and Wimple
Great Green Turkey Creek Monster
Leopold the See-Through Crumbpicker
The Day the Cow Sneezed
Little Hatchy Hen
Grandpa's Witched Up Christmas
My Friend Charlie
Sherwood Walks Home
The Fabulous Firework Family

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