by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt
I am ambivalent about Nick Sharratt. Sometimes his illustrations seem garish, cartoony and a bit like shouting. There is not much depth, it’s all about FUN! Everything is primary-coloured and obvious.
Julia Donaldson is of course the author of The Gruffalo, which H and I are alone in the universe of books in not really liking, I think. Maybe he just needs to be older? Perhaps I need to have a better imagination?
H vehemently disagrees, though, on Nick Sharratt, who is his hero. He would read You Choose and Just Imagine on a loop, every day, for his entire life, foregoing playground, football, friends, education and career path.
Goat Goes to Playgroup is one we both like, though. Goat is gentle and sweet and hideously vulnerable. He is one to make every mother’s insides contract. Joyous, naughty, different than all the other kids, constantly having accidents, too much energy to settle to anything.
Circle Time comes and Goat is over the other side of the room on his own, climbing the climbing frame, whilst the others politely sit, assimilating knowledge and getting ahead. Goat, you are fine now and having a monstrously wonderful time at nursery, but what will happen to you when they start measuring your progress and testing you every week and trying to standardise you into a British education system goat?
The last page is lovely. The mums and dads come to pick up their offspring, and their faces are filled with that look parents get where they are trying to drink their child in as deeply as they can after being away from them. Mummy Goat is jumping out of her skin with joy to see her naughty little boy, and he is looking so sweet and dopey and innocent.
Very very sweet and nicely funny is our verdict, and definitely the pick of the Sharratts we have had so far.
H’s comment: ‘He needs his wellie boots’ (Goat wets his pants, causing a puddle to form. H does not comprehend at all that this is embarrassing, and cannot fathom the two pink spots on Goat’s cheeks. He does comprehend that if you wish to be in a puddle, you are supposed to have your wellies on, however, and so wisely advises Goat upon each reading).