________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 9 . . . . January 3, 2003


Goats Don’t Brush Their Teeth. (Abby and Tess Pet-Sitters).

Trina Wiebe. Illustrated by Marisol Sarrazin.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press, 2002.
95 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 1894222-59-8.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Janet Delgatty.

** /4


"I haven't named her yet," said Gran. "She's already very tame, and quite intelligent, too."

"Oh," said Abby, her eyes lighting up. "Can I name her? Please? I promise I'll find the perfect name."

"How about Pincher," suggested Tess with a sly grin. "Or Biter or Chomper?"

Gran chuckled. "Did she nip you, Abby? Goats are playful creatures. You have to keep an eye on them. But they can't hurt you too badly because they don't have any upper teeth."

Gertie's kid took a dainty step forward on its spindly legs. Abby watched it uneasily. Teeth or no teeth, this kid packed a powerful pinch. The kid bleated and laid its head against Abby's let. Abby gazed into its gentle brown eyes and completely forgot her sore rear end. She was in love.

Sisters Abby and Tess are back in this sixth entry in the “Abby and Tess Pet-sitters” series. This time, they're not looking after the pets of someone who’s gone on vacation but are sent to visit Grandma for a week while Mom and Dad have some "alone time." Grandma lives on a farm and has a new baby goat she's going to let Abby name. Abby loves Grandma and the farm, but she finds her little sister pesky, her grandma absent-minded in a way that worries Abby, and mysterious things happening on the farm. Mystery mixes with humour, and Abby's worries are resolved by the end of the book.

     Books in this series are early chapter books, with large typeface, black and white illustrations every few pages, and an accessibly short length for kids just getting into chapters.

     The characters of the girls are well defined. Abby is bossy but sensitive. Tess, the younger sister, acts out rambunctiously when she feels left out and is often hilarious. Grandma is quite delightful, and lots of kids would love to visit her on the farm!

     Although no places are identified by name, this is a Canadian series, and it's great to have something of "ours" to offer the kids that like the Arthur chapter books, or the Soccer Cats. In terms of reading level and difficulty, this series is a little easier than Mary Labatt's Sam, Dog Detective books, another good Canadian series of beginning chapter books.

     Author Trina Wiebe lives in Powell River, BC.


Janet Delgatty is Collections Librarian (Children's Services) with Vancouver Island Regional Library, based in Nanaimo, BC.

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

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