Ole Goat of Grede Mountain joins the animals headed to the market to sell their wares, but he hasn't anything to sell. He carries a big black bag for the purpose of holding the goods he steals from everyone else: "My bag is hungry." Owl hands over his table, and Hedgehog relinquishes her flower bouquets, though not without a fight. Ole Goat even steals from Raccoon, who is selling tools to get food for his children. Soon the bag is enormous. Then Ole Goat meets Bear, who has nothing but a feathered hat. Grabbing for the hat, the goat trips over his own bag and tumbles down a mountain, getting the comeuppance he deserves. The story fairly bounces with energy, and Chwast takes the mischief to greater heights with rambunctious watercolors depicting the meanest, bullyingest billy goat ever imagined. The theme is straightforward, but the tone is light and fun.
"On market day, a greedy goat bullies his neighbors into giving him their belongings. He stuffs everything into his ever-expanding black bag and goes to look for more--until he meets Bear, who teaches him that he already has more than enough. The facial expressions of the animals add humor to the somewhat awkward watercolor illustrations in this cautionary tale." Horn Book
Greed has no bounds for this bully goat and his insatiable black bag in Tompert's tale, which is not so much cumulative as it is avaricious. On market day, Ole Goat is on the prowl; from anyone he encounters he demands their goods, or &'grave;I'll pitch you down this mountain with a butt from my bony, bony head.'' One after another, the wares belonging to owl, rabbit, and fox go into the evermore capacious black sack: &'grave;There's always room for more. . . . I'll never have enough,'' howls Ole Goat. By the time the goat challenges a bear who has nothing but his hat to tender, the grasping creature trips over the bloat and winds up in a mud puddle. Tompert's text offers a crisp backhand to the pox of greed, while Chwast's artwork is highly demonstrative and engaging.
K-Gr 3-"Ole Goat of Grede Mountain" and his bottomless black bag just can't get enough of everyone else's property. As he meets several animals carrying their possessions to the market to sell, he insists that they give them up to feed his "hungry" bag, threatening them with violence. He meets with great success until, in grasping for more, he trips over his too-full bag and tumbles down a hill. His ill-gotten gains are then retrieved by their owners. Tompert's text is great for storytelling. Repeated phrases such as "I'll pitch you down the mountain with my bony, bony head," folksy language, and a parade of critter victims move the tale along to its satisfying comeuppance conclusion. One is reminded of Eric A. Kimmel's Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock (Holiday, 1988). Chwast's watercolor illustrations have a folk-art/cartoon quality that supports the tale nicely and a soft palette that does not overpower it. A handy read-aloud for those ready to discuss the grief of greed.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.