Review Blog

May 30 2011

Henry the Goat by Ella Watkins

cover image

Hardie Grant Egmont, 2011. ISBN 9781921690877
Henry the goat just loves to play - but sometimes his over-exuberance for life leads to strife. Today his best friends, Rufus, a book-worm marsupial, and Oscar, a water-phobic crocodile, are coming to play and Henry cannot wait. He helps his Dad tidy the garden, helps his mum bake a cake and then sits quietly with Grandma reading books until his friends arrive, although Henry's idea of helping does not  necessarily coincide with theirs. The afternoon is full of fun and frolic, but it may be that Henry is the only one having fun.
This story has so much energy that it just leaps off the pages and the reader really experiences Henry's enthusiasm. But you have to engage with the pictures to see if this is really fun for everyone. Perhaps Rufus and Oscar are not quite as enthusiastic.
Henry the Goat came to life when the author was just 8 years old and this book was written when she was 14. 'At first Henry was just a picture that I drew in my school poetry book. Most things that you draw you never draw again. However later I decided to redraw him, just to show him to Mum and Dad. Before I knew it, every time I picked up a pencil, my hand would etch the few lines that made up Henry's features. With each time I redrew him he began to change a little and I was soon drawing him with different expressions and movements. As I drew him more and more, a personality began to form. I noticed that Henry didn't seem to react randomly to situations I set him, I began to know him. I began to understand him and the way he thinks. That's when I realized his personality was kicking in, he was becoming a person. I now knew he needed a name. Henry seemed the right name for a goat of such status.'
Meet Ella and Henry at
Barbara Braxton

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