Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Gooseberry Park

Gooseberry Park

Cynthia Rylant
Illustrator:  Arthur Howard 
For ages 8 to 10
Harcourt, 2007   ISBN: 978-0152061593

Kona is a charming chocolate lab. Thanks to a very wise and sensible hermit crab called Gwendolyn, Kona has received and excellent upbringing. When Kona was a puppy, it was Gwendolyn who made sure that Kona understood that chewing their master’s slippers was not acceptable, and that the place to go to the bathroom was outside in the park and not on the floor in the house.

Kona also happens to have a kind and loving heart. He makes friends easily, and he is loyal and true to the friends he has. He chooses to ignore silly rules that say that dogs should only be friends with other dogs. One of Kona’s best friends just happens to be a lady squirrel called Stumpy. At the moment, Stumpy is getting ready for a thrilling event. In the not too distant future, Stumpy is going to have her very first litter of babies. Needless to say, she is very excited, as are Kona and Gwendolyn.

The babies duly arrive, but then something truly dreadful occurs; an ice storm hits town and the tree that Stumpy’s nest is in is destroyed. Kona fears for the safety of his friend and her babies and sets off to the rescue. It is a good thing that he does, for Stumpy is in dire straits.

With the help of dear loving Gwendolyn and a very quirky egg roll-loving bat called Murray, Kona does all he can to help Stumpy and her babies.

Touched with humour and full of charming characters, this story about true friendship is a delight to read to oneself or to read out loud.