Two kids—as in young goats—prove just why that creature has a tough reputation.
Little Billy finds a cellphone in a field, “like the one the farmer lost”; said farmer is scouring the tall grass a few feet away. Billy “kept it for his own.” Strike one. Hiding it from his folks, he teams up with his friend Cyril and, after a little minor mischief, Billy suggests “Let’s make a funny call!” Billy’s brother gets a burp; Cyril’s sister gets a “whooping like a big baboon.” OK, they are on thin ice but still dry. Then they discover Troll’s number in the contacts. “Oh, what a laugh, yippee!” Since they are afraid of Troll, they text. “Get off the bridge! You stink!” Whoa! Strike two. Still laughing, Billy says, “I bet Troll’s got an ugly mug— / let’s take its photograph!” So now a little B & E into Troll’s cave. Strike three. There they find a baby troll, crying as a result of the prank calls (illegal in most states, considered harassment, stalking, or bullying: strike four). The kids apologize, though even Ross’ soft colors and easy linework fail to convey much remorse when they “hung their heads in shame.” Then they all make friends. Forgiveness is a beautiful quality, yes. But the kids are more delinquents than pranksters, and with “friends” like them....
Let’s be honest. The goats are the stinkers. (Picture book. 4-8)