Review of The Goat and the Stoat and the Boat

The Goat and the Stoat and the Boat The Goat and the Stoat and the Boat
by Em Lynas; illus. by Matt Hunt
Preschool, Primary    Nosy Crow    32 pp.
4/24    9798887770529    $17.99

The story opens with a boat floating in the moat of a castle. In the boat, there is a stoat who “played / in the boat / and rocked / in the boat / and rolled / in the boat.” Everything’s great until a goat (wearing a bright yellow coat, naturally) jumps in the boat, also wanting to float. This book has a Seussian level of rhythm, rhyme, and repetition, which builds a boisterous, loopy energy. The illustrations see and raise this spirit in bold colors with few lines and a mixed-media look. The compositions begin with a wide field and then zoom in tight to heighten the tension when the duo starts bickering and tempers escalate. “This is a boat for a stoat / not a goat!” This book is funny, too—particularly images of the goat with its round, stunned eyes and skinny legs akimbo. Eventually the fighting tips the boat. Once in the water, it becomes clear that the stoat can’t swim, and the goat has a choice to make. This book makes for a dynamic read-aloud, but with its predictability, simple language, and repetition, this is also an excellent choice for new readers.

From the May/June 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Adrienne L. Pettinelli

Adrienne L. Pettinelli is the director of the Henrietta (NY) Public Library. She has served on several book award committees, including the 2015 Caldecott Committee, and is the author of Helping Homeschoolers in the Library (2008).

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