cover image Scapegoat: The Story of a Goat Named Oat and a Chewed-Up Coat

Scapegoat: The Story of a Goat Named Oat and a Chewed-Up Coat

Dean Hale, illus. by Michael Slack. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59990-468-9

Whenever anything suspicious happens in the Choat home, young Jimmy Choat pins it on "the family's spare goat, Patsy Petunia Oat." (It's unclear why the goat is "spare," since she is the only pet.) The goggle-eyed, pink-nosed goat always objects, but none of the Choats speak her language; Jimmy freely accuses the goat of destroying his coat, a television remote, a carry-all tote, and a toy boat. Even when next-door neighbor "Bert Sproat found the goat Patsy Oat with a poorly shaved throat," the boy insists that the "silly old goat must have shaved her own throat." The offended goat, it must be said, eschews the outrageous assonance and plainly calls out Jimmy ("He did it. With your razor"). The blame game rages until a goat translator sets matters aright, calling one of Patsy Oat's claims into question, too. Hale (Rapunzel's Revenge) produces lopsided, rhythmless rhymes, while Slack (My Life as a Chicken) contributes exaggerated digital cartoons that play up the innate ridiculousness of the story, as well as the occasional gross-out moments. But even wordplay enthusiasts will tire of this bloated joke. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (June)