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Cover image for Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan
Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan

First edition.
New York : Beach Lane Books, [2015]
Physical Description:
109 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Stumpy, Murray, Gwendolyn, and Kona recruit Herman the crow and 200 owls to help with their Master Plan to assist the animals of Gooseberry Park that are in trouble because of a months-long drought.
Reading Level:
Elementary Grade.

830 Lexile.

Ages 8-12.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 5.0.

Accelerated Reader/Renaissance Learning MG 4.4 2.0 14466.
Added Author:


Call Number
J Rylant, C.

On Order



Stumpy the Squirrel and friends team up to save the day in this charming standalone companion to the beloved Gooseberry Park , from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant and illustrator Arthur Howard.

There has been no rain for months, and all of the animals in Gooseberry Park are in danger. Can the gang of dear friends come up with a brilliant solution in time to save the day? Absolutely!

Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant's first novel in more than a decade has all the wit and charm of the first adventure of the Gooseberry Park gang, which Kirkus Reviews called "sophisticated and funny...a tender tale delivered by a sure hand."

Author Notes

Cynthia Rylant was born on June 6, 1954 in Hopewell, Virginia. She attended and received degrees at Morris Harvey College, Marshall University, and Kent State University.

Rylant worked as an English professor and at the children's department of a public library, where she first discovered her love of children's literature.

She has written more than 100 children's books in English and Spanish, including works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her novel Missing May won the 1993 Newbery Medal and A Fine White Dust was a 1987 Newbery Honor book. Rylant wrote A Kindness, Soda Jerk, and A Couple of Kooks and Other Stories, which were named as Best Book for Young Adults. When I was Young in the Mountains and The Relatives Came won the Caldecott Award.

She has many popular picture books series, including Henry and Mudge, Mr. Putter and Tabby and High-Rise Private Eyes. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-Rain matters.especially when there is none. Gooseberry Park is suffering an unusual drought. In Gooseberry Park (Harcourt, 1995), readers met Stumpy, the caring mother squirrel; Murray, the animated black bat; Gwendolyn, the wise hermit crab; and Kona, the brave Chocolate Lab. In this clever sequel, the odd menagerie fears the effects of the drought on their beloved park and come up with a plan to get every creature, from the youngest to the oldest, life-saving water. They enlist the help of the park's assorted residents. While their scheme is utterly outrageous, (it's amazing what a raccoon, 200 owls, and 20 packs of chewing gum can do,) it conveys the idea that no matter the obstacles, a solution can be found by those willing to overcome differences and work together., This contemporary tale is a surefire winner. Rylant's inspired writing gives readers a humane understanding of drought and its consequences. The importance of family and friendship is reinforced as every creature rises to the occasion. The characters are wonderfully defined. The cartoonish black-and-white drawings add to the fun. Vocabulary is sophisticated. VERDICT Rylant does it again with this wonderful tale of nature, friendship, and family; a must-have.-Sada Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Twenty years after Gooseberry Park, Rylant and Howard return with a companion book, and it's well worth the wait. While an ice storm figured prominently in the previous book, a drought is now causing trouble for Stumpy the squirrel, Murray the bat, and other animals in and around the park. Rylant swiftly recaps the events of the earlier book before moving on to the animals' efforts to secure needed water, using a plan devised by genius crow Herman (it involves 200 owls and a great many drinking straws). Howard's b&w illustrations build on the story's ample humor (as when he shows a blissed-out Murray enjoying a Reiki session from Gwendolyn the hermit crab) while Rylant unspools a quietly magical tale of cooperation and kindness, with a gentle environmental undercurrent. Ages 8-12. Author's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Rylant reunites the animals from her 1995 Gooseberry Park and again places them in danger. A drought threatens the survival of the old and young, and the able four-legged inhabitants devise an amusing, but successful, plan to help them store water. Wordplay and jovial black-and-white illustrations add to the humor, and the gentle narration matches the there's-no-place-like-home theme. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Twenty years after the publication of Gooseberry Park (1995), Rylant returns with a sequel.In the previous outing, the residents of Gooseberry Park coped with an ice storm; now, a drought threatens Stumpy the squirrel and her family, along with all the other animals. This spurs house pets chocolate Lab Kona and hermit crab Gwendolyn to devise the titular master plan to help their friends through the ecological disaster. Herman the crowso smart that the rest of the crows have given up the annual chess match because they got sick of losing to himworks out a flowchart that involves a cat, a possum, a raccoon, 200 owls, and 20 packs of chewing gum. Murray the bat's motivational-speaker brother puts his well-developed jaw muscles to work on the gum; Kona's chocolate-Lab sincerity wins the unprecedented cooperation of 200 owls. Rylant writes with her customary restrained humor, creating with apparently no effort a full cast of three-dimensional furred and feathered characters. The story comes with lessons ranging from the overuse of fossil fuels to the peculiar magic of friendship, all applied with a gentle hand and a spirit of generous trust in the abilities of her readers to understand them. Her frequent collaborator Howard supplies lumpily humorous grayscale illustrations that augment the character development and give readers' eyes places to rest. Readers new to Gooseberry Park will hope they don't have to wait another 20 years for the next book. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

In this follow-up to Gooseberry Park (1995), the animals are living the dream. Murray the bat has a steady supply of Oreos; Gwendolyn the hermit crab periodically cruises around on the back of Kona, the chocolate lab; and Stumpy the squirrel has three bright children, though their habit of emulating Murray by hanging upside down has generated a bit of neighborhood gossip. When a drought hits the park and dries up Gooseberry Creek, however, the animal friends grow concerned for those who cannot journey far afield for water. That's when they know they need a plan a master plan. Enlisting a possum, a parliament of owls, and a few others, the park's animals come together to deliver water to those in need. Veteran children's author Rylant shows her knack for storytelling by incorporating just the right amount of heart, humor, and suspense into this gentle adventure. Short chapters generously peppered with Howard's endearing and often amusing illustrations make this a natural step up from beginning readers. A sweet tale of friendship and teamwork.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2015 Booklist