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Scapegoat: The Story of A Goat Named Oat and a Chewed-Up Coat    by Dean Hale & Michael Slack order for
by Dean Hale
Order:  USA  Can
Bloomsbury, 2011 (2011)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Subtitled ‘The Story of A Goat Named Oat and a Chewed-Up Coat', this is the cautionary tale of a boy who tells a string of lies and blames the family goat for all the misdeeds. But, as often happens, the truth finally comes out and the goat is vindicated. Well, sort of vindicated since there is an interesting little addendum to the story!

The Choat family has a pet goat named Patsy Petunia Oat. When the story begins, Jimmy Choat arrives home without his coat. 'Where is your coat, Jimmy Choat?' asks the boy's mother.

The goat, knowing the answer quickly replies, 'He left it in the park.' Unfortunately, the only one in the Choat family who speaks the goat lingo is Jimmy. So the quick thinking boy says, 'My coat? It was eaten by P. Petunia Oat.'

Soon a pattern emerges. Every time something goes amiss in the household and Jimmy is responsible (i.e. a lost TV remote and broken toys), he shifts the blame to the goat.

Finally, Jimmy's dishonest ploy is uncovered by a neighbor who also just happens to speak goat. The boy is rightfully punished and thus the story ends with justice being done. Well, not entirely! The final page of this humorous story holds a surprise that will elicit a chuckle or two from the reader.

Children between the ages of four and eight will enjoy this picture book about scapegoats and perhaps they'll take note of the not so subtle message too!

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