Alfonzo the goat loves his new coat, but he loves helping others more.
“Let me tell you the tale of Alfonzo the goat, / who was terribly proud of his lovely new coat.” The text mostly continues in anapestic tetrameter, with a few awkward adjustments for those reading it aloud. Almost immediately after strutting about in his beautiful new coat, Alfonzo hears distress signals from a family of newly homeless frogs. Without hesitation, he enlists a bird to pick some stitches out of one of the sleeves, and the frogs have a new home: a boat. (Well, it had to rhyme with coat, right?) With “a warm glow in the depths of his heart,” Alfonzo continues to help animals in trouble by mutilating his new coat. By the time it is all gone and he is close to hypothermia, “Someone was shining around a bright light.” No one is literally shining, as the line suggests; someone is using an instrument that casts a bright light upon the shivering goat. As readers may have expected, Alfonzo the good Samaritan reaps an eventual reward. The art is appropriate: brightly colored, stylized, anthropomorphic animals—humorously goggle-eyed—appear in various indoor and outdoor landscapes. The layout aids in a read-aloud: Sometimes end rhymes and ending near rhymes are situated so that a reader can pause and let listeners guess the pending word. But that doesn’t make it good verse.
This morality tale tries too hard to be a poem. (Picture book. 3-4)