Petunia

Our rating: ***½

One day, Petunia, the silly goose, finds a book lying on the ground. Petunia has heard the farmer say that those who own books and love them will be wise, so she keeps the book, believing that she will no longer be a silly goose. With her new-found wisdom, Petunia feels that she is qualified to give advice to the rest of the farm animals but, since she has never read the book, her advice has disastrous (and explosive) results.

Petunia is a silly story with a moral. Although the moral is a little too obvious, the rest of the book comes across well, is very enjoyable, and makes a good start to a small series featuring the silly goose.

Will’s Quill

Our rating: ****

Willoughby Waddle is a goose who lives in old England. One day, tired of doing the same things all the time, he decides to go to London. After having several bad, sometimes frightening, experiences, Willowby meets up with a kind man. Later that night, Willoughby is able to repay the man for his kindness in a way only a goose could.

Will’s Quill is a great book to enjoy on your own or to read aloud to someone else. I think that my favorite part has to be when Willoughby tries to “rescue” his friend. The results are quite funny. If you enjoy Will’s Quill, you should check out some of Don Freeman’s other books, several of which are still in print.

Two Dogs and a Horse

Our rating: ***½

To start with, this book is made up of three unrelated short stories. The first, A Dog Remembers is about a large, friendly dog named Brad that comes to town one day with his master. The townspeople joke about Brad, saying that the dog is a lion. When Brad’s master is killed by another dog, Brad gets the blame. After all, he’s a big dog. Throughout the story, Brad tries to avoid the other dog and later on tries to find another master.

The second story is called The Black Horse. Jed Hale, lured by his employer’s reward of five hundred dollars, sets out to capture a wild black horse. This is no easy task. The horse is a said to be a killer and Jed has been crippled since childhood. Jed finally trails the horse to a ravine that is blocked on one side by an impassable swamp. The horse gets scared by a landslide and jumps into the swamp. Jed, not willing to leave the horse, must rescue it all by himself.

The last story The Lake and the Lonely Exiles is (surprise, surprise) about another dog. This dog lives on a farm and is quite happy. Then the farmer goes away on vacation, leaving the farm to a caretaker. The dog, who looks like a wolf, is blamed for killing sheep. Rather than kill the dog, the caretaker does what he thinks is the easy way out and dumps the dog on a lonely road. The dog ends up near a lake and adopts an injured goose as a companion.

I can’t decide which story I like the most. There are only two animal characters that have names. In the first story there’s Brad and in the third there is a mule named Adolph Hitler. I don’t believe that there is any bad language in any of these stories. This is a short book, but it is also very enjoyable.