When you're a man living with three wives, seven children and a menagerie of animals including five goggle-eyed goats, something's got to give. Old Ali Haji Amadu's wives are fed up with the goats chewing the clothes and munching the radishes. Ali Haji promises to get rid of them but is that what everyone really wants?
Life is pretty chaotic in Timbuktu where Ali Haji Amadu lives with his wives, children and their many animals. They have one dangle-tailed donkey, two snaggle-toothed camels, three curvy-horned cows, four wobble-legged lambs and five goggle-eyed goats. That would probably be enough if the goats were not so troublesome and mischievous, munching and chewing everything in sight. At the insistence of his three wives, Fama, Rama and Sama, Ali Haji sets off to Mopti Market with the intention of selling the goats. It's a long trek but he finally arrives early the following morning and tries to find someone to buy them. It's not as easy as he expects though, especially when certain members of his family, having followed him, decide to intervene. It seems that the goats are wanted after all even though there is always such a hullabaloo when they are around.
This is a fabulous children's book and the thing that you notice above all are the vibrant, energetic illustrations. The pictures are so exciting and really help to tell the story and to bring the characters alive. My daughter was quite mesmerised by the stunning pictures on the front cover before even opening up the book but once she did, she thought that the pictures just kept getting better and better and brighter and brighter.
It's not just the pictures that make this book though because the story is really fun too and it is well told. There is a bit of an unexpected twist at the end that makes the first reading of this book quite surprising. The names of the characters are intriguing and the descriptions of the animals are perfect. Dangle-tailed donkeys, wobble-legged lambs and goggle-eyed goats are very apt and great examples of the wonderful description that is in this book.
Overall, The Goggle-Eyed Goats is a bright and appealing book with a multicultural flavour that I am sure will appeal to many young children and their parents. It's a great book for sharing.
The Goggle-eyed Goats is currently available in hardback from Amazon for £8.35 (May 2012)
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk