cover image Once upon a Goat

Once upon a Goat

Dan Richards, illus. by Eric Barclay. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-7374-8

Two monarchs who wish to become parents receive an unexpected happily- ever-after in this story by Richards (Penny and Penelope). After the privileged couple requests a “kid” from their fairy godmother, they receive a baby goat. The pair tries to look on the bright side (“We won’t need to change its diapers”), but their unruly charge sows chaos, as captured in amusing, not-quite-medieval pencil, watercolor, and acrylic illustrations by Barclay (Sheep Dog and Sheep Sheep). The goat’s insatiable appetite—even the book’s first page has a bite taken out of it—is the last straw, and after the beast consumes the royal rosebushes, they send it away, until seeing it in a rainstorm causes a change of heart. When the fairy godmother checks in months later, she’s bewildered: “You must be joking,” she declares, realizing her mistake. Her visit to a goat family reveals a naked cherub among them, but no one seems happy when the fairy proposes a simple switcheroo. Luckily, there’s an alternative, and what might have been “be careful what you wish for” turns into a more inclusive takeaway about family and its many forms. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. [em](Aug.) [/em]