Mr. Goat gathers everything he will need to show his first love just how much she means to him.
Part of the fun in Bunting’s latest is the dichotomy between what Mr. Goat chooses as gifts and what child readers would choose. Miss Nanny Goat’s weed stall is the caprine equivalent of a flower seller’s stand; Goat requests a mixed bouquet of “Crabgrass, pigweeds, and ragweed in that nice, rusty can.” At Mr. Pygmy-Little Goat’s stand, he picks up four rotten eggs, “Guaranteed foul and disgusting.” The icing on the cake is the red heart-shaped box these are packed in, tied with a red ribbon. Miss Skunk provides a little cologne for Goat so he’ll smell as good as his eggs, but she also points out his lack of a card. This brings him up short, and he sits under a tree to compose a song for his love instead. Ready at last, he stops at her door and starts singing. When the door opens, adult readers will not be surprised as to the identity of Goat’s first love, but children might be. Zimmer’s digital illustrations are full of rich, bright colors. While a few items are textured and appear 3-D (Goat’s hat and pants, the rusty can), most are flat and cartoonish, including the characters. Readers who have sought out their own perfect gifts will recognize the emotions that play across his face.
A not-so-sweet-smelling Valentine treat. (Picture book. 4-7)