The Illustrated Father Goose
Kelly L. Green is editor of the Canadian Book Review Annual’s
Children’s Literature edition.
Many people already know the story of Bill Lishman, the man who built an
ultralight aircraft and taught a flock of geese how to migrate south for
the winter. Tanaka’s book tells the story as Lishman and his family
(particularly his 11-year-old daughter, Carmen) experienced it—from
the birds’ conception to their return from their first big trip south.
The book is compelling reading as an adventure story. Lishman conquered
many obstacles along the way—from saving goose eggs that were
threatened by coyotes to crashing a number of gliders and breaking his
foot. It also holds gentle, unobtrusive lessons on self-discipline,
tenacity, creativity, and independent thinking. Tanaka’s epilogue ties
in the important environmental aspects of Lishman’s work, and how it
may help save endangered species of migratory birds such as the whooping
crane. The oversize format provides a suitable scope for Laurie
McGaw’s superb illustrations. Highly recommended.