Goose is feeling sad and his eager friends want to cheer him up. They are certain playing hide-and-seek would do the trick, but not quite. Goose remains sad and attempts to tell them what he needs, but not before the next thoughtful suggestion is made. Of course, a game of tag, though fun, isn’t what goose needs. So, he makes another effort to share what he needs but is interrupted before he could get the words out. Poor goose, growing sadder and sadder, makes another effort to communicate his need with his friends, but together they begin to sing a happy song for him. Our sad little friend becomes frustrated, covers his ears and shouts, “No! I NEED—“ Puzzled, all of his friends stop to listen for what goose could possibly need. Finally, a relieved goose gets to tell his friends that what he desperately needed all along was a hug. Well, what are friends for, if not for providing much-needed hugs? It’s good to see all of their arms wrapped around goose in the end.
While I know this board book is part of a series to teach children their early skills, I felt that it related to all ages. I would characterize this book as the power of a listening ear. True, goose needs a hug but goose also needs for his friends to listen to him. After all, if they stopped long enough to hear him out, they would know just what he needs. How often do we zealously go on doing things for others that they did not need in the first place, but do not do the one thing that they desperately need from us? I’m often guilty of that. ‘Just listen’ is the theme here. You learn so much more about others and their needs by listening to them, instead of assuming. However, it’s never too late to stop and do the right thing, as goose’s friends show us in the end. There is usually time to get it right…and it is always sweet to provide a hug to a friend in need.
Our kids both love the story. T. has recently learned how to give hugs and he gives the sweetest bear hugs. It makes reading the book a little more personal. I often find Ty reading it to him in his room as well. As sweet as our little Duck is, he also throws everything do and turns every book into a ball. He hasn’t quite learned to be gentle with books. I am very appreciative for board books at this stage of toddlerhood.