Monday, November 3, 2014

Picture Book Monday with a review of The Geese March in Step

When I was in elementary school on the island of Cyprus, we kids had to line up in the playground when break (recess) was over and then we had to quietly walk to our classrooms. The teachers walked at the head of the lines, and I remember thinking many times over that I felt as if I was a baby duck following its mother, or a soldier in formation. How I longed to just run or skip or hop instead of having to walk "quietly."

In today's picture book you will meet a goose who cannot seem to walk in step. She, unlike me, wants to be like everyone else, but for some reason she has a hard time fitting in.

The Geese March in StepThe Geese March in Step
Jean-Francois Dumont
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Eerdmans, 2014, 978-0-8028-5443-8
Igor is a goose who leads his flock to the pond every morning. He insists that all the geese should march in step so that their webbed feet hit the ground “perfectly in synch,” and their rumps waddle “together in time.” No one can remember why the geese do this. All Igor cares about is that their orderly march is “tradition” and tradition matters.
   Then one day, during the march to the pond, Igor notices that something is amiss. One of the geese is not properly in synch. It turns out that Zita, who recently joined the flock, is having trouble marching in step. Igor tells her that she cannot go to the pond with the flock. She will have to join them later.
   Sadly Zita goes back to the farm, and then after waiting for a while, she sets off down the road to the pond once more. She cannot understand why she can’t march in step. It isn’t hard to do, and yet Zita cannot seem to manage it. As she walks, crying and sniffing, Zita starts to create a rhythmic pattern tune with her feet, tears, and sniffs, a “Splash, sniff splash and splash again sniff splash” sound. The tune is so catchy that a woodpecker joins in without even realizing it, adding a knocking noise to her song.
   Raymond the rooster is similarly attracted to Zita’s tune, which he thinks “makes you want to shake your tail feathers!” He too, without making a conscious effort to do so, joins the little goose’s tune with pecks.
   All too often the world expects us to toe the line and march to a certain drumbeat. Some people are able to do this, but others do not find it easy to do what everyone else is doing. They have their own style and have to go their own way.
   This wonderful picture book celebrates those who have an independent spirit and who dare to embrace their individuality.  

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