The Hungry Goat

This classic cautionary tale was first published in 1964. Alan Mills was a Canadian writer, folksinger and actor, and Abner was a prolific graphic designer and children’s book illustrator from the 1950s to the 1970s. They cooperated on I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. We can hear Mills’ folk music background resonate in this rhythmic, rhyming text too.

Small children will love the fun in this book. The eponymous hungry goat is an omnivore with an appetite of epic proportions. He will eat anything. Nothing presents a challenge to him. He gulps down paper bags, bits of strings, pig swill, flour sacks, barbed wire, iron bars and clothes off washing lines. His appetite gets him into trouble – look at what happens when he eats his owner’s red shirts! But he usually manages to eat his way out of trouble too.

The language is simple, the rhyme and rhythm strong. Very young children may well memorise the tale. Independent readers will be highly entertained as they turn the pages. In a readaloud setting, younger children can be encouraged to guess what on earth that hungry goat will eat next. His appetite eventually launches him on an amazing adventure.

Graboff’s illustrations are strong and distinctive. He is known for his quirky and humourous style. Children will love the amusing illustrations here. He uses a limited palette with bold design. This will be a popular addition to preschool libraries.