by Cari Best
Winner, 2002 ASPCA® Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Each year the Canada Geese settle by the pond near the home of the narrator. She and her dog enjoy watching the geese and listening to their distinctive honking. They young girl takes an interest in one particular goose that has lost a foot from an accident. The girl encourages the goose when it cannot swim and is ostracized by the other geese. Though she knows she shouldn't, she can't help but feed the injured goose corn. Then one day in the fall the geese are gone, and the injured goose with them. Throughout the fall, winter, and early spring, the young girl wonders about her injured goose, and then spring comes and brings with it a great surprise. Not only is the injured goose back, but it has found a mate and has seven adorable chicks. This story teaches children the power of perseverance and the ability of animals in the wild to adapt and survive.
ASK: This is a true story. Read the short paragraph on the title page. What do you think might have happened to the goose with one missing foot?
SHOW: Look at the cover of the book. What do you notice about the goose? Can you guess what this story is about?
CONNECT: Have you seen Canada Geese flying near your home? They are very common birds throughout the United States or Canada. Tell one story about the geese you have seen.
ASK: How does the girl in the story care for the goose?
SHOW: Look at the picture on pages 10 and 11 of the story. How do you think the goose might feel to be so distanced from the rest of the geese?
CONNECT: How would you feel if your community didn't accept you? Do you think this is how people with disabilities in our communities might feel? What can you do to help people and animals with disabilities feel accepted and valued?
ASK: How does the goose with the missing leg surprise the narrator?
SHOW: Look at the pictures on the last five pages of the story.
CONNECT: The goose in this story adapts to life with a disability. She finds a mate and even has a family. What are ways that you have seen people or other animals adapt to life with a disability?
- Look up more information about the Canada goose. Go to Kid Zone's Canada Goose webpage to find out all the facts.
- Go to the Canada Goose Wikipedia page to hear a recording of a Canada Goose honking.
- There are many things each person can do to help keep animals in the wild safe and injury free. For example, when you buy six-packs of soda cans, be sure to cut up the plastic rings that hold the cans together before you throw them away. These rings can get caught on the feet or necks of birds and harm or kill them. Write a list of at least four things that your family will do to keep animals in the wild safe. For help thinking of ideas, go to ASPCA Animaland.
- In this story, the Canada Geese make their summer home by a pond. Use paper to create a picture of the goose from the story in her pond habitat. Look at the pictures in the book for ideas. Cut our construction paper and glue it down to create your picture. Start with the objects in the background, for example, the sky, trees, and grass. Then glue down the objects in the front of the picture such as the geese.
- Canada Geese migrate. This means that they travel at different times of the year, following the warm weather. They leave northern areas when they can tell winter is coming and return in the spring. Create a map to show where these birds migrate.
- Canada Geese have families similar to the ones that humans have. This of what it means to be a family. Write down ten words that mean "family" to you. Now do some research about Canada Geese and how they live. What similarities and differences do you find among people and these geese?
- In most cases, you should leave an injured animal alone, but if you find an injured wild animal, follow these tips for what to do
- Don't endanger yourself. You could get bitten.
- Contain the animal if possible. Use a box or other soft container and weight it down if necessary. (If the animal is very hard to catch, that may be a sign that you should just leave it alone.) DO NOT TOUCH THE ANIMAL WITH YOUR BARE HANDS.
- Once you've contained the animal, don't touch it.
- Do not offer any food or water, especially milk, since you don't know what could harm the animal.
- Do not keep an animal overnight. Contact the proper authorities, such as your local game and wildlife agency. To find a local wildlife rehabilitator, visit the Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory.