Nick Dent, Goat on a Boat, Omnibus Books, June 2019, 32 pp, RRP $24.95 (hbk), ISBN 9781760669164
Nick Dent’s debut picture book, Goat on a Boat is as insightful and relevant as it is comical and sweet.
When a goat arrives on the rocky island of Joxx, the resident sheep are not sure what to make of their uninvited guest, and before long they are taking heed of their outspoken leader, Bighorn Bill and his selfish, fear inducing rhetoric.
Said Bill: ‘He’s arrived to eat all our wild oats! We must bar his entry!
We must… STOP THE GOATS!’
‘For if we let one on the island of Joxx,
Then others will follow- they travel in flocks.’
Analogous to the plight of so many refugees worldwide, the migrant goat is viewed as a statistic; somehow less worthy in the eyes of the residential population of Joxx.
‘Who asked it to come here? It wasn’t invited.
I say if it comes any closer, then bite it.
Or lock it away!
It just isn’t fair.
It’s hard enough here without having to share!’
But when one brave ewe speaks her mind and Mr Goat reveals his hidden talents, the reluctant sheep become more open minded and this humorous fable ends in a wonderfully joyful way.
Young readers (4+) will adore Goat on a Boat’s rhyming verse and Suzanne Houghton’s beautifully bold, watercolour illustrations. This title is already a firm favourite in our house and with such an important message of acceptance and overcoming fear, readers are sure to appreciate how a warm welcome really does go a very long way.
Reviewed by Lisa Hoad