A shy lad and his horned, adventurous best buddy take in the state fair. The lights! The rides! The corn dogs!
Though Billy prefers reading about adventures rather than having them, as his caprine friend does, news of a best-goat competition prompts him to buff up his buddy and tackle the big, bright, noisy state fair. Goat promptly chews his way loose—and from there, it’s on to the log plunge and the tractor pull, a yodeling contest, corn dogs and floral displays (goat happily chows down on both), and even a ride on a float. Yaccarino portrays it all in flat, brightly colored scenes featuring a young farmer in overalls who goes from anxious to exuberant as he catches up with his eager companion and gets into the swing of things. In the end they miss the livestock competition, but before riding away in the back of a pickup beneath a sky filled with fireworks, they do come in “third (and fourth)” in the pie-eating contest. No matter: “Billy already knew who the best goat really was.” As in Donald Crews’ Night at the Fair (1998) (and unlike Ted Lewin’s more frenetic Fair!, 1997), the crowds and carnival atmosphere come off as inviting rather than overwhelming.
Billy’s experience may encourage young children who share his attitude toward new adventures to screw their courage to the sticking place. (Picture book. 5-7)