Monday, August 15, 2011

Scapegoat

 



Dean Hale; Illustrated by Michael Slack 


The Choat family owns an unusual pet – a goat named Patsy Petunia Oat. She is an amazing pet, as she can speak! Sadly, she only speaks in the language of goats, which the Choats do not understand. Young Jimmy Choat realizes fairly early on that Patsy is unable to defend herself and begins using her as … his own personal scapegoat.  

When Jimmy comes home from school on Monday sans his coat, he quickly claims their pet goat ate it.  That story works so well, that he claims the same when the tv remote comes up missing. Patsy knows darn well that Jimmy is the culprit, but nobody can understand her goat words. When Mama discovers her purse filled with goo, Jimmy turns to his reliable scapegoat. In fact, Pasty saw Jimmy blow his nose in there and bleats “Jim did. It was nasty.” She’s right  – Jim is kind of nasty. He goes on to blame her for a host of incidents that include breaking baby’s toy boat and even shaving her own goat throat.   
   
Luckily for Patsy Petunia, neighbor Bert Sproat does speak goat. He relates the truth to the Sproats about Jimmy’s untruthfulness. Patsy glares balefully at Jimmy, feeling quite vindicated. Bert Sproat tells her she better not gloat, as he knows the real story behind Jimmy’s goat. Guess Patsy isn’t the angelic goat that she wants everyone to believe.

A funny story punched up with rhyming text and great illustrations makes a terrific book. I knew from the title page this would be a good one, with Patsy lustfully eying Jimmy’s plaid coat, unaware that he is nailing up a little sign on her goathouse that reads “I’m stinky.” Later,  while Jimmy is sick in bed from a bad piece of bass, Patsy is angrily chomping a mean picture of her accuser into the lawn.  Ha!

Review copy provided by Bloomsbury.
 

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