32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
Let me tell you the tale of Alfonzo the goat,
Who was terribly fond of his lovely new coat…
The pictures on the wall and the clothes on their stands in Alfonzo’s hallway show a goat who has a keen eye for fashion and one for whom sartorial splendour is important. So to have a new coat with “bright shiny buttons all made out of glass and a collar the colour of freshly cut grass” -such a stunning contrast to the thick yellow weave of the coat itself – is something that is very important to him. As he walked through the streets showing it off, he felt very proud as people admired him.
But as he walks he hears cries of despair from creatures in distress who really need his coat more than he does. Will he be able to part with it? Of course he does – he may be a fashionista but he is also generous and gradually, bit by bit, his coat goes to helping others until not even the collar is left. So when he gets caught in a blizzard on his way home and he curls up in a cold ball beneath a boulder to keep warm, all looks very grim for him until…
Tom Percival’s clever rhyming text works perfectly with Christine Pym’s illustrations as young readers need to refer to the pictures to see just why Goat’s coat gradually looks tattier and smaller until there is nothing left. There are lots of opportunities for predicting how he might solve each creature’s problems and even what those problems might have been so it’s great for helping early readers learn to engage fully with both text and pictures to immerse themselves in the context of the story as much as its content. There is also a great opportunity for parent and child or teacher and class to discuss what Goat did and think about his actions after reading to deepen awareness of not only the story but how people help each other.
Deceptively simple, richly rewarding.