That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems

That Is Not a Good Idea!

A written review by Adrienne

That Is Not a Good Idea!

A written review by Adrienne

Willems rewrites an old version of a folktale with a twist. The story of Fox and Goose is told in style of an old black-and-white movie. The text is separated from the illustrations using white lettering, black background and framed. All that’s missing is the dramatic piano music. The illustrations make the most of two-shots and close-ups.

Fox meets Goose on the street and asks her to go on a stroll with him. Goose acquiesces and Fox leads her into the woods. In the woods is his house where Fox requests Goose’s help in making soup. They both determine a key ingredient is missing. What happens next is both surprising, funny and demands an immediate re-read to find the clues hidden in the story. Readers may think Goose is too gullible and agrees too quickly to Fox’s requests. Her replies are always in close-up showing vulnerability and innocence, worrying the reader about her inevitable outcome.

The tension is slowly ratcheted up by the chicks who adamantly exclaim throughout the story how each request by Fox is not a good idea. Williems’ talent is his sophisticated humor which he is able to make clear for children to understand and get without dumbing it down. Librarians can utilize call-and-response to really get the children involved in the story. Recommended for Pre-school and up.

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