Books by Toni Goffe

Released: Aug. 1, 1996

The first day of school, with all its attendant excitement, is presented from the point of view of Alicia, an African-American girl who joins a multiracial class. Smalls (Father's Day Blues, 1995, etc.) includes many of the activities children can expect in the first few months of kindergarten: drawing letters and coloring shapes, singing songs, watching a snake shed its skin, birthday parties, Halloween, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Three Kings Day, and the Chinese New Year are all presented. Alicia makes friends; by book's end, all the students are ready for vacation, while enjoying school and looking forward to coming back after the break. Goffe's watercolors reflect the happy, sweet tone of the text in this serviceable book for family and classroom. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 30, 1993

A tale collected by the WPA's Federal Writers' Project, admired by Carl Sandburg as ``a fresh modern masterpiece,'' and now reinterpreted by a ``story performer'' (The Legend of Lightning Larry, p. 306). The aptly named Slappy is a Bunyan- style prodigy of a sign painter: his pictures are so lifelike that roses wilt, an eagle flies away, and a billboard depicting a beach for the ``Sunshine Travel Agency'' decimates trade by attracting sunbathers right in town. Irate customers give up hiring the hapless Slappy, but when ``the Boss'' sends a winged, paint-spattered messenger to draft him for rainbows and sunsets, His standards suit the overcapable painter to a T: ``If it isn't too good, it's not good enough!'' Goffe's freewheeling cartoons perfectly complement this well-told, amiably satirical tale. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-9) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

When the King asks little Prince Paul about his first day of school, Paul says, ``I had to write a letter.'' Pleased, the King tells the Queen, surmising that the letter must have been to Paul's pal Prince Peter, across the valley. The Queen passes the word to the Queen Mother, who's overheard by the maid, who tells the cook, and so on, each adding and embellishing until, by evening, the exaggerated story has caused the kingdom to muster in full military array against Prince Peter's friendly domain. Fortunately, this threat is dispelled next morning before the first shot, when Paul finally mentions that the ``letter'' was ``a''—``and today I am going to...write...``b.'' The familiar scenario is developed with logic and a brisk good humor; Goffe's well-designed illustrations and broad caricatures make an entertaining complement. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: March 31, 1993

A ``performer of stories'' creates a tall-tale superhero for our time: when Larry strides into the Cottonmouth Saloon he orders lemonade, with a smile, and when he shoots outlaws like ``Crooked Curt'' and ``Evil-Eye McNeevil,'' it's ``just a little bolt of light'' that hits them right in the heart and reforms them on the spot. It's all too goody-good to be true, of course, but Shepard tells his tale with such exuberant good humor and explores the consequences with such comical logic (bank robbers, shot through the heart with Larry's unusual ammunition, turn so far around that they make deposits on the spot) that the moral doesn't detract from the fun. Goffe's deftly limned cartoon-style art, touched up with desert-bright colors, adds nicely to the merriment. A readaloud that could lighten up classes well up in the elementary grades. (Picture book. 6-11) Read full book review >
ROCKS IN MY POCKETS by Marc Harshman
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

The Woods family lives high in Appalachia where crops are puny but where the local rocks—when put in people's pockets— make good ballast in a wind, getting polished in the process. Some foolish, fancy city people provide an unexpected bonanza by purchasing the well-rubbed rocks—until honest Father Woods points out just how easy rocks are to find. Still, the ones that haven't been previously pocketed just aren't the same.... The authors, both experienced storytellers, recount their tall tale with dry understatement that makes it all the funnier, as do Goffe's lively, wickedly satirical illustrations. A subtle but beguiling message about value, packaged in an offbeat, entertaining tale. (Picture book. 4-10) Read full book review >