A never-before-published tidbit from the archives of Corduroy’s creator, featuring a goat that gets into an artist’s paint box.
Freeman’s son Ron mentions in a closing note that his father was unable to get this published despite several revised dummies. It’s easy to see why, as both art and story are a long way from finished. The text features indefinite pronoun antecedents, choppy pacing throughout, and wooden dialogue (“Look what you’ve done! You have ruined my painting and squashed all of my precious water colors!”). It is mechanically laid in below and above quick sketches of figures that often look too small for their frames. Spun from a true incident, the plot is unfocused. After Goodwin makes a mess of plein-air painter Miss Phipps’ work, impoverished farmer Mac Duff attempts to monetize the incident by charging admission to see his paint-spattered goat (which only lasts until it trots off to take a bath). It concludes with Mac Duff and the formerly outraged Miss Phipps euphemistically becoming “friends after that for a long time” and then one day presenting the goat with a nanny. “They” (the goats) too become “good friends,” and “they” (both couples?) go on to live “happily and scrappily ever after.” Both humans are white, as is Goodwin; the nanny is black-and-white.
Definitely a work in progress—particularly next to the painterly chaos in David Wiesner’s Art & Max (2010) and Karen Beaumont and David Catrow’s I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! (2005). (Picture book. 6-8)