Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Brett Helquist
Illustrator: Brett Helquist
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Grumpy Goat is devoted to his gut. All he wants to do is eat. He is only concerend about where he wants to eat, when he wants to eat, and not being bothered by the other animals while he eats. This used to be the happiest farm, but Goat's surliness brings all of the animals down. Then, while munching the grass, Goat sees a dandelion. He thinks that it is dandy indeed and he cares for the blossom through the summer. The animals join him in appreciating the bloom until fall comes and his lovely plant falls apart in the wind. He is crushed. All of the other animals on the farm offer their support and soon make friends. To his surprise the field is covered in dandelions come spring.
The story has a positive message about making friends, but the execution is weak. There is not a pivotal point that really brings the animals together and creates a greater sense of unity. It's just a passive occurrence as other things are happening. Goat has an unusual affinity for the plant that seems out of sync with his feelings for the other animals. This could be incorporated to add depth to the goat's character but it is left up to the reader to make it make sense. The illustrations are gruff and stubbly and seem to match Goat's surly disposition perfectly. The humor is subtle but adds a nice touch to the overall story, especially since the death of the dandelion is quite sad. This is a good story, but it's a little rough around the edges.