Review: Goat On A Boat
Goat on a Boat is a fun rhyming romp across a deserted volcanic island that reminds me a lot of places in the Aegean but the end pages and name (Joxx) intimate a more Hebridean nature.
A flock of dismal looking sheep eke out a meager existence among the lower marshes and barren rock faces of Joxx. The grass, what little there is of it there, is thin and unappetising. Life is rudimentary at best.
One day they spy a boat which brings to shore a stranger; a goat of all things. He's different and if the sheep's leader, Bighorn Bill can be believed, must not be allowed to infiltrate their home. Who knows how much he'll eat or who else he might invite to come ashore. Better to stand firm, lock him up, bite him into submission if necessary warns Bill. But among the motley crew, a young, dark-wooled ewe speaks up, imploring the others to give him a chance.
Bill finds it hard to extinguish his prejudices and pre-conceived fear-induced beliefs and while he bleats and bemoans, the goat does something no one else has ever attempted before. He climbs to the top of the volcano. Fleecy Jean (the forward-thinking ewe) follows and, as sheep are wont to do, so too does the rest of the flock much to Bill's chagrin. What they discover on the summit blows their mind, as it might yours.
Dent and Houghton have created a comical yet deeply satisfying analogical tale that alludes to the plight of refugees and the prospects of acceptance and assimilation. Using animals in an anthropomorphic way to portray the notions of fear and overcoming prejudices is a refreshing take on this subject matter and made the whole reading experience less didactic and political and therefore more enjoyable for me.
A jolly platform to leap into more meaningful discussions about tolerance and giving peace a chance.
Visit again for more thought-provoking picture books on the subject of cultural and social tolerance.
Title: Goat On A Boat
Author: Nick Dent
Illustrator: Suzanne Houghton
Publisher: Omnibus Books, $24.99
Publication Date: June 2019
For ages: 5 – 8
Type: Picture Book
Buy the Book: Booktopia, Boomerang Books