cover image The Queen's Goat

The Queen's Goat

Margaret Mahy. Dial Books, $12.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0938-6

Although not up to Mahy's usual standards, this story still qualifies as a romp. A young queen wishes for a pet, but is overruled by her housekeeper and the butler: too messy. An invitation to a pet show proves irresistible, however, and when the queen liberates the gardener's goat, Carmen, the fun begins. Carmen drags the diminutive monarch across the countryside, charging through clotheslines at hurricane speed, trampling flowers right and left, spearing tambourines belonging to a pair of dancers. Of course the two of them end up at the pet show, where Carmen, resplendent in her purloined regalia, wins the prize for best-dressed pet. These are exactly the sort of madcap monkeyshines that lend themselves to Clark's frothy watercolors and the wide-eyed characters who people them. All told, it's a diverting bit of fluff. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)