SCAPEGOAT by Dean Hale


The Story of a Goat Named Oat and a Chewed-Up Coat
by illustrated by &
Age Range: 4 - 8
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There is nothing quite like giving a goat grief. That is, after all, why they are called goats. And the young protagonist in Hale’s mostly rhymed tale drapes all manner of blame on the horns of the family goat.

"Where is your coat?" Mrs. Choat asks her son, Jimmy when he comes breezing through in his shirtsleeves. The family’s goat, Patsy Petunia Oat, answers for him—“He left it in the park”—but since the Choats didn’t speak Goat, Jimmy blithely says: “My coat? It was eaten by P. Petunia Oat.” He blames everything on her: the lost TV remote, the boogers in the tote, the baby’s broken boat, her own shaved throat. That is until the day neighbor Sproat, who happens to be fluent in Goat, provides Mr. and Mrs. Choat with the goat’s-eye view, and Jimmy sets about eating a little crow. The wordplay here is enjoyable—“On Friday, Baby Choat’s boat would not stay afloat, and Mama asked Jim, ‘Did you break Baby’s blue boat?’ The Choat goat, Patsy P. Oat, raised her head and said, ‘He hit it with a rock’ ”—and there is a neat double comeuppance at the end, though neither approach incandescence. Slack’s Photoshop/collage artwork is attractively involving, edging toward Lane Smith but stopping short of his spidery spookiness.

No matter; readers will all be rooting for P. Petunia. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59990-468-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2011

Kirkus Interview
Dean Hale and Shannon Hale
November 25, 2014

In Shannon and Dean Hale’s new book The Princess in Black, Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Our reviewer writes that The Princess in Black has “action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out?” The Princess in Black made it onto our Best Middle-Grade Books of 2014 list, which is one reason we’re delighted to talk to the Hales this week on Kirkus TV. View video >


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