Goat and Donkey and the Noise Downstairs

Goat and Donkey and the Noise Downstairs - Simon Puttock, Russell Julian image
Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my BEDTIME STORIES list.

I have a little boy and love reading to him, so this reading list will cover the classic (and new) children’s stories we’re enjoying together.

This books was given to Fin (my baby son) as a Christmas present. He's still at the age where books are good teething material (and he gave this one a damn fine gumming), but I still enjoyed reading him the story and showing him the pictures.

It's a simple tale about a scared Goat who hears 'burglars' downstairs. He seeks the comfort of his friend, Donkey - but with Donkey missing poor little Goat leaps to the conclusion that Donkey must have been stolen by the burglars! Scared as he is, Goat plucks up his courage and goes bravely forth to confront the burglars (waving a stuffed Rabbitty) and rescue his missing friend. Of course, Donkey is just up getting a midnight snack - there were no burglars! Oh, how they laughed! The final illustration - the midnight feast they had to celebrate - is my favourite image of the book.

The illustrations are quite lovely; pastel, beautifully shaded, and with a touch skill for expressive animal faces that reminded me of Nick Aardman's Grommit character (from the Wallace & Grommite claymation movies).

The moral (as I see it) about childhood night-fears being groundless and worth facing down is a good and valid basis for a children's book, clear and well executed.

I have no real complaints with the book. It's a good kids picture book - I just didn't love it enough to give it any more than three-stars. But if we do pick up the rest of the series I could easily see G&D's adventures growing on me.

After this I read: The System of the World