Wild Goose by Laura Wall, published by Award Publications
Imagination, fresh air, friends and sunshine - four of the best ingredients for happy childhood memories. All of them feature throughout Laura Wall's uplifting and feel-good 'Goose' series, which follows a white-feathered friend and a group of small human pals as they experience childhood together - whether going to school, celebrating a birthday, going shopping or spending time on a farm.
The latest title, 'Wild Goose', is a celebration of the great outdoors, the wonders that can be discovered and of the fun that can be had. With no batteries or touch screens in sight, Goose and her friends set off on an adventure through the forest - hunting for wild treasure, stepping across tree stumps and squelching through mud. Knobbly sticks found by an old tree leads to pirates on the high seas, wizardry and den-building.
We watch the group discover nature on the ground and up high in the trees, while learning how to respect and cherish the natural world. Our daughter's favourite scene is the book's last - when the children use the treasure they have gathered to make a wonderful picture of their friend, Goose.
Laura Wall's distinctive and bright palette fills every page, and her illustrations glow with an engaging and happy energy. There are several lovely details in the book, such as the almost ever-present squirrel, and the hiking boot that can be found on the edge of most pages, subtly reassuring young readers that there is a grown up looking out for the children (our four year old daughter was pleased to spot this).
As in the other Goose books, there is welcome diversity in the children featured. In another much-loved book from the series, 'Goose at the Beach', there is a wonderful depiction of how childhood friendships so easily transcend across nationality or spoken language, particularly when there is an enormous sandcastle to build!