________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 18 . . . .May 13, 2005


What a Goat! (An Annick Chapter Book).

Errol Broome. Illustrated by Sharon Thompson.
Toronto, ON: Annick, 2004.
72 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-868-6 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-869-4 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Goats-Juvenile fiction.
Children and animals-Juvenile fiction.
Children of unemployed parents-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Luella Sumner.

**** /4



A car swished past on the road and was gone. Eliza looked at her watch. It was seven minutes past six. She was sure her eyes had not closed, but she must have slept because sometime in the night Gerda had eaten her socks.

Gerda sat beside her, watching with her friendly eyes. Her jaw chomp-chomped from side to side. Oh, well, they weren't very nice socks! Eliza scooped some hay from the sack. "This is better."

The apple might have to last all day, so Eliza took a bite and chewed slowly. She put half back in her coat pocket. They'd have to get moving soon. The family might have missed them by now.

Eliza put her shoes on, stood up, and untied Gerda's rope from the bench. Gerda butted her in the chest.

"Stop it!"

Gerda didn't stop.

"What's wrong then?" Eliza stood up to look and listen.


Gerda is a goat, a lovable pet goat who keeps getting into all kinds of trouble. She eats the neighbor's apples and the neighbor's laundry off the line. She is Eliza's pet and her best friend. When Eliza's father loses his job and hard times hit the family, many sacrifices have to be made. And because Gerda is non-productive besides being expensive to feed and bail out of trouble, Eliza's father makes the decision that Gerda must go. In fact, he means they must put Gerda down. Eliza is heartbroken and tries to find another home for Gerda. None of the neighbors want her. Eliza comes to the only conclusion that seems right....she will run away with Gerda. She sets out after the family is asleep, and she and Gerda spend the first night in a park. Early in the morning, before they can continue their journey, Gerda hears the cries of a little boy who has fallen into the creek. She leads Eliza to the boy. After Eliza has rescued him and recognized him as the neighbor's grandson, she realizes she must take him home and give up her idea of taking Gerda to safety. She bravely heads for home. The neighbors are ecstatic that Gerda and Eliza have saved the little boy. There and then, they declare that they will take Gerda and give her a good home with a strong fence to keep her out of trouble. Now Eliza and her family are ecstatic. Gerda is saved!

     Readers will laugh at Gerda's antics, and her story does make for a good read. Eliza's devotion to her pet and determination to save her will strike a chord with young readers. This is all together an enjoyable book. The illustrations are simple but effective.

     Errol Broome is a former print and television journalist and the award-winning author of more than a dozen books for children. Sharon Thompson is a kindergarten teacher who lives in Australia.

Highly Recommended.

Luella Sumner, a retired librarian, lives in Red Rock, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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