The Three Good Deeds
By Vivian Vande Velde
Sometimes you need to read a book for the sheer delight of reading and being entertained by the fun factor of the story being told; a book that doesn’t require a lot of thought in deciphering the content, characters, or plot. When I need to read, but am not in the mood to think much while I’m reading, I tend to grab a children’s book. This time I chose Three Good Deeds.
Three Good Deeds is a delightful tale about a boy, a witch, and a lesson. Howard tends to get others, along with himself, into trouble but the day he decided to steal a few goose eggs by the pond where the witch lived, he made a decision that would cost him more than he bargained for. It was this act that landed him on the witch’s bad list, and she promptly turned him into the object of his thieving, a goose! Lucky for Howard the witch didn’t stop there. Along with Howard’s transformation the witch informed him that he could indeed become human again if he completed three good deeds. Howard takes up the challenge and begins to look for opportunities, but to no avail…seems there is more than just doing the act, he also has to do them for the right reasons. This takes Howard on a wonderful adventure as he learns how to be a “good” boy…as a goose!
A fun and delightful book! I enjoyed reading Three Good Deeds from page one, all the way to the end. Howard made me laugh at his antics, while, in some situations, I felt sorry for his bad luck encounter. Throughout his adventures I was cheering him on and finding myself wondering if this current good deed of his would count towards the three.
Since Howard’s goal is to accomplish three good deeds, the story includes some good advice for the reader; such as being a friend, looking past people’s (or geese’s) faults, and learning how to deal with rejection. Of course some of these lessons are not easy ones to learn, disqualifying some of Howard’s “good” deeds. Luckily for him the witch is always there to clarify which deeds count and which ones were done with a selfish motive. In time Howard begins to change inside – as a person – becoming more aware of those around him, and soon his good deeds are actual good deeds!
The ending of the story might seem obvious. He has to eventually become a boy again, right? Well, although the ending result of the story is no surprise, the path to the end is what makes you keep reading. You are swept into the story by the circumstances Howard finds himself in. And yes, you might know how the story is going to end but how Howard gets there carries a few surprises itself which keeps you reading and rooting him on.
The back of the book suggests the reader be between the ages of eight to twelve, and I agree with that recommendation. Of course any adult who loves a good, simple story would enjoy reading this book too, so why put an age limit on it? Since the theme of the book is Howard’s good deeds, I would even suggest reading this book aloud to your child or children. This way you can go deeper into the moral lessons presented and gleam from them what you’d like to instill in your child.
Overall I am happy to add this book to my library. I’m sure it will be pulled off the shelf often as the little ones come to visit. 😀