PPBF & IF: Scapegoat

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Author: Dean Hale
Illustrator: Michael Slack

Publisher: 
Bloomsbury, 2011
Age Level: 
4-8

Themes: rhyming text, goats, blame

Opening: On Monday, when Jimmy Choat came home with no coat, his mother asked him, “Where is your coat, Jimmy Choat?

Summary: (From Amazon) In the Choat family, you never have to look hard to find a culprit. Missing TV remote? Blame the goat! Lost coat? Keys in the moat? Broken boat? Blame the goat! But don’t be surprised if the goat doesn’t take it lying down. In this hilarious, rhyme-happy picture book, children will love to pore over the funny illustrations, picking up clues that all is not as it seems between Jimmy Choat and the goat, Petunia P. Oat. Because Petunia knows who’s really to blame, and before long the whole family will too!

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Why I Like This Book: So, so much fun to read aloud! A bit of mystery and tension provide the perfect build up for the surprise twist at the end – despite rhyming clues to help the reader. Jimmy and the goat both share just the right amount of ‘bite’ to make me fall for them. The spreads are well constructed and the art leads the eye well around the pages. Simple yet sprinkled with fun 50’s style tidbits. And I have to admit that the endpapers are right up there in line for my favorite part of the book.

Resources/Activities: An excellent book to read with the class when learning the ‘oa’ sound, or learning about rhyme and rhythm; the class could also discuss what animals make good pets, and which ones may be allowed in the area they live in (you can keep up to two goats in my city); for art class, this makes a good reference when discussing textures and how to create variety with collage: try rubbings of different surfaces to create textures that could be used in a book like this – cement walls, carpet, bark, leaves – you name it.

For more PPBF picks, go to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – CLICK HERE

Just saw the Illustration Friday prompt for the week, so I whipped up my own Slack-styled goat for ‘mustache’ – a little folly with Dali!

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