In this middle-grade novel, a young goat embarks on a life-changing adventure.
When Buddy the goat is born on the aptly named Goat Mountain, her early days are nothing short of blissful. Buddy’s mother is sweet and nurturing, feeding and bathing the newborn kid and supporting the animal as she learns how to use her hooves and legs. But after only a few days, Buddy wakes up to find her mother gone. The little goat, who still doesn’t have a name at this point—animals are named by their mothers—is at a loss, not finding her parent anywhere except in her own dreams. Soon, Buddy’s explorations lead her to new friends: Maurice the marmot (who gives Buddy her name), a mysterious but kind raven named Roark, and, finally, a band of mountain goats who take Buddy under their wings. Though fellow kid goat Elbuort delights in bullying Buddy, her new mother figure, Oreo—who lost her own baby—is happy to have the newcomer in the group. Oreo introduces Buddy to her own mother, Spirit, the band’s most respected elder. While Buddy tries to find her role in the group, she learns of a legend that may threaten the goats’ existence as well as a renowned location called Shining Mountain. With Roark’s help, Buddy sets out on her own to find the mountain, battling hostile forces at every turn. Can Buddy save her band of goats and finally discover what happened to her mother, Eneres? Wildlife biologist Bruce Smith has published a number of nonfiction books and studied mountain goats for three years in Montana. In his engaging first novel, the author includes a lengthy but child-friendly afterword, detailing the species described in the story as well as the threats of global warming and other factors to the natural world. The series opener also features black-and-white illustrations by the author’s wife, Diana Smith. The result is an informative and lovingly crafted narrative with a plucky hero determined to find her mother and her place in the world; her natural curiosity about her surroundings will appeal to the work’s target audience.
An enchanting tale with a strong environmental message.