Written by Marnie Parsons, illustrated by Veselina Tomova
Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides
(Ages 3 to 8)
When the sheep and the lambs of Toad’s Cove (along with one cranky old goat!) make their way to Fox’s Island to spend the summer, they look forward to leisurely days of grazing on the island’s salty green grass and cavorting on the rocks by the sea. All but one solemn little lamb, that is.
PB’s head and heart are in the stars. Inspired by the renowned Edmund Halley who once visited Toad’s Cove, PB is determined to study the stars until she finds a way to predict when the next comet will appear.
But that one crotchety old goat is determined to thwart PB’s efforts, doing everything he can to throw obstacles in her path. He hides her spyglass and jumbles her numbers. But then “the sight of the night sky, and the wonder it brings/of the largeness and the beauty and the smallness of things” makes him realize all that he’s been missing.
From then on, while the other sheep and lambs continue to spend their days munching on the tender grasses and gamboling along the cliffs and coasts, these two unlikely friends spend their nights stargazing and drinking in the wonders of the skies.
Another delightful and quirky picture book offering from Running the Goat Books & Broadsides, PB’s story is sure to charm young listeners. The jaunty and lyrical text begs to be read aloud as it trips and dances along in frolicsome fashion.
Parsons, who hails from Ontario but now calls Newfoundland home, has crafted a tale that feels timeless and contemporary. Young readers will marvel at PB’s passion and zeal. The old goat’s dramatic change of heart leads to a most satisfying ending.
While the book is set in Newfoundland and was inspired by true events in what is now known as Tor’s Cove, the story has a universal quality and will be read and loved by readers everywhere.
Veselina Tomova’s illustrations are playful and sprightly, featuring a sketchy and free-flowing style and a folk-arty feel. With muted tones, they bring this gaggle of sheep (and one goat) to life.