cover image Plato's Journey

Plato's Journey

Linda Talley. MarshMedia, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-55942-100-3

A member of the pound-the-moral-into-the-reader-with-a-mallet school of children's literature, this modern-day fable seeks to teach its audience the value of honesty. Through a series of lies, some white, some not, a goat named Plato is fooled into believing that he's the fastest goat ""in all the Peloponnese"" (the southern region of Greece), and eagerly agrees when a jealous barnyard rival suggests he enter the great goat race at Olympia (a race that doesn't exist). On the way to his destination, Plato is fleeced of his favorite possession--a bell he wears round his neck--by a rooster, and arrives at the ruins of the Sacred Grove of Olympia wearing the goofy objects palmed off on him in exchange for his bell (an old straw hat and a dish-towel scarf). Ridiculed by tourists, a humiliated Plato is finally set straight by a wise eagle and returns home to chide his friends and vow never to tell a lie himself. If the approach is heavy-handed, Talley's storytelling itself is competent. Maeno's watercolors, framed in brightly stylized patterns incorporating Grecian architectural elements, provide a much-needed shot of color, but are unable to hoist this turkey out of its self-righteous mire. Stick with Aesop. Ages 5-10. (Feb.) FYI: A companion videocassette and activity guide are available.