That Is NOT a Good Idea!

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
That Is NOT a Good Idea! Book Poster Image
Goose outsmarts fox in funny, perilous story with a twist.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Gives kids a feel for what silent movies were like -- and gives parents an opportunity to tell kids about the time when movies weren't shot with sound and dialogue appeared as white words on black title cards that would cut into the filmed scenes.

Positive Messages

Be careful of strangers who seem nice but may have mean intentions. Use your wits to make your move and outsmart someone who wants to eat you! 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The baby geese are wisely cautious as well as kind and caring to warn, "That is NOT a good idea!" The goose turns out to be quite resourceful, brave, smart, and able to take care of herself and have the last laugh.

Violence & Scariness

At the end, the goose outsmarts the wolf and throws him in the boiling pot of water. 


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that That Is NOT a Good Idea! is another deliciously funny picture book from three-time Caldecott Honoree Mo Willems, author of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willems. Here he uses a silent-movie motif, with dialogue presented on black title cards mid-scene to show the goose inching toward peril in a soup pot. With every step closer, a chorus of concerned goslings shouts warnings of "That is NOT a good idea!" -- increasingly adding "really" multiple times before "NOT" as the situation gets more desperate. In a comic twist, the goose stuffs the wolf in the pot, and readers learn that the goslings were actually trying to warn him all along. A fun, interactive read aloud.

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What's the story?

A wolf meets a plump goose on the street and asks her to take a stroll in the deep dark woods. \"That is NOT a good idea!\" says one of the four baby geese observing the scene. But the goose goes anyway, and when the fox asks her to go to his kitchen and she agrees, one of the goslings says, \"That is really really NOT a good idea!\" The goslings' warnings get more extreme with each step closer to the soup pot, until the goose finally outsmarts the wolf.

Is it any good?

THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA! is another fresh, funny crowd-pleaser from prolific author-illustrator Mo Willems. Kids will join the chorus of goslings repeatedly giving ever more desperate  warnings, and parents will admire the silent-movie motif, with the dialogue appearing on black title cards. There's a cute twist at the end, too, when readers learn that the little geese were actually warning the wolf, not the goose.   

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about twists in stories. What's fun about an author trying to fool you? 

  • Notice how expressive the eyes are in That Is NOT a Good Idea! You can tell if a character is happy, scared, or surprised just by their eyes. What other ways does Mo Willems show changes in feelings?

  • Check out a silent movie to see what it's like. You might start with Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times

Book details

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