by Cynthia Rylant (1996)
What do a lumbering Labrador, a wise-cracking bat, a Caribbean crab, and a mother of triplets have in common? Well, they are the best of friends of course! Gooseberry Park is the endearing story of true friendship and selflessness at its best. Kona, the loyal Labrador, is willing to risk it all to help his best friend Stumpy the squirrel and her new babies. His perilous journey to save the newborns is only the beginning of heroic acts that show readers the true meaning of love and friendship.
Cynthia Rylant’s warm style seeps through a charming tale demonstrating the importance of family – even one composed of a variety of semi-wild animals. Rylant’s rich use of language enhances the book’s style, giving poetic qualities to her sophisticated prose. The grand array of “characters” include a wise old hermit crab, a faithful canine companion, a witty and wacky bat, a plucky squirrel, and a host of other wild and wonderful friends. Together the creatures of Gooseberry Park rally to overcome the damage and destruction caused by a winter ice storm.
Readers will love each animal character for their distinctly different, yet fundamentally familiar, personalities. The forces that draw these unlikely characters together are love and friendship and there’s no better strength than that. Don’t miss this story of the unlikeliest friendship that risks it all. May we all hope for friends as remarkable as Kona, as wise as Gwendolyn, and a hilarious as Murray.