Mo Willems’ That is Not a Good Idea is a wonderful interactive picture book, with a spin on the traditional bad wolf fairy tale. The storyline is simple with very little text, and an unexpected surprise ending. Although in color, the book’s illustrations are presented in pantomime and the white text and frame encasing it, pop out of the black background, are all reminiscent of a black-and-white silent era film.
A sly wolf and an innocent and helpless-looking female goose meet while walking down the street. They are immediately interested in each other, and when the wolf invites the goose to join him for a stroll, and she readily agrees, the gosling begin a chorus warnings of "that is really not a good idea!”
The story continues with the wolf leading the goose away, and asking: “Would you care to continue our walk into the deep, dark woods?" The audience, the goslings, believing they know what is inevitably going to happen, tries to warn the goose with ever louder choruses of "that is really not a good idea!” It appears that the wolf is luring the goose to a certain bad end, and she is destined to become his dinner. But do the goslings have the right idea?
With illustrations that are classic Willems, a story that unfolds with humor, a moral lesson that appearances can be deceiving, and a very clever twist that takes the reader by surprise, this book is pure read-aloud delight. The endearing repetition of the goslings' chorus feeds the interactive flow of the story, while the ending will not be soon forgotten. A really fun book to read to an audience that will certainly invite participation!