cover image Grumpy Goat

Grumpy Goat

Brett Helquist. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-113953-6

When shaggy Goat arrives at Sunny Acres farm, his cantankerousness prevents him from enjoying the potential beauty and fun around him. He can’t be bothered to say hello to Cow, play with the pigs, or enjoy a cool breeze. “He just kept his head down, scowled, and ate.” One day, after chomping through the garden and kicking down a fence, Goat nibbles a path to the top of Sunrise Hill where a sunny, golden dandelion stops him in his tracks. As he carefully tends to this newfound wonder, his crankiness eases and he joins a game of tag with the pigs and visits with Cow and the sheep. Luckily, there are enough dandelions around to ensure Goat a cheery, friend-filled summer. Helquist (Bedtime for Bear) delivers a sweet-natured and quite literal stop-and-smell-the-flowers tale that will buoy readers, although it may also have them speculating about Goat’s mood come winter. The acrylic and oil paintings depict an idyllic countryside and stalwart red barn either clouded by Goat’s crabbiness or lit by radiant sun in happier times. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)