cover image OH, LOOK!


Patricia Polacco, . . Philomel, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24223-6

Much to the consternation of their young shepherdesses, the goats in their charge are on the loose and determined to let nothing stand in the way of their freedom. The pond certainly doesn't prove to be an obstacle. "Oh, look, we see water. A deep blue pond," writes Polacco (When Lightning Comes in a Jar ), channeling the glee of her runaway protagonists in rhythmic, sound-rich sentences while she shows one goat splashing in the water with the vigor of a kindergartner. "Can't go over it,/ can't go under it,/ can't go around it.../ Let's swim it!/ Swish, swish, swish we go as we swim in it." The babushka-wearing owners give chase as fast as their voluminous clothing allows (their wardrobe brings to mind a Russian nesting doll), hitching up their skirts to scamper over the quaint, rolling landscape where there's nary an SUV or cellphone in sight. The goats finally stop in their tracks when the object of an "Oh, look!" is an ogre in a village carnival funhouse, "with great big eyes and sharp green claws." The chase then shifts into reverse, until the now-frantic goats race to get "right back home, safe and sound!" Younger readers especially will cheer on the goats because they're just like... well, kids—gawky, wide-eyed grinners, full of beans but wise enough to know there's no place like home. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)