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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > MARCH 2017 > Kidding around

Kidding around

Anne Fleming’s loopy premise and endearing characters make for a touching kidlit debut

EDITOR'S CHOICE

The Goat

Anne Fleming

Groundwood Books, Ages 9-11

SHORT-STORY author and poet Anne Fleming’s first run at children’s fiction is a quirky, riotous story that uses a preposterous conceit to deftly veil much deeper issues and themes.

A story about a goat roaming the exterior of an 11-storey Manhattan apartment building, the two children who set out on a quest to spot the animal (and thereby claim the seven years of good luck fabled to accompany a sighting), and the assortment of adults who inadvertently stumble into their quest should not, in any conception, work. And yet it does.

The star of the book is an 11-year-old girl named Kid, who has moved from Toronto to Manhattan for a few months with her parents, Bobby and Lisa, to dog-sit Bobby’s cousin’s dog, Cat. Yes, a kid named Kid in a book about a goat and a dog named Cat (short for Catherine the Great). This kind of wordplay runs throughout the novel, yet somehow manages not to become tiresome – a testament to Fleming’s skill and ability to perfectly gauge how much wackiness readers might bear.

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