Billy Goat bites off more than he should.
“Nat the Cat made a breakfast to share / with her friends Billy Goat and Hugo Hare. / She was going to make a breakfast treat, / with some lovely homemade bread to eat.” Nat has set the dough out to rise when Billy arrives early. Billy doesn’t want to wait for Hugo, so to distract him, Nat suggests Billy set the table. While Nat is out gathering flowers for the centerpiece, Billy sets the table…but he just can’t resist the jug of juice. Then he sees the bread and takes a bite before he realizes it isn’t cooked. Hugo and Nat arrive, and Billy has to swallow—and then his tummy starts to bloat. Hugo and Billy try to hide the belly from Nat, but Billy confesses. After a breakfast of store-bought juice and what’s left of the dough (now cooked), Nat writes a song about Billy’s impatience, and the friends sing along. Alborough’s first of two companion books to Nat the Cat’s Sunny Smile (2013) is less charming than its predecessor. The song that appears as sheet music in the story and is available online is a bit flat and didactic, much like the story itself, and Alborough’s cheery illustrations are chopped up by the talky text.
Here’s hoping Hugo’s forthcoming tale will have more bounce. (Picture book. 4-7)