The Goat, by Anne Fleming (2017)

Contemporary Fiction
The Goat, by Anne FlemingEleven-year-old Kid moves from Toronto to New York City for a six-month stay while her actor/screenwriter mother works on an off-Broadway production. Teacher Dad is going to work on his own play while homeschooling Kid, which includes daily visits to various NYC museums. They are staying in cousin Doug’s apartment just off Central Park, looking after his dog Cat while Doug is in Europe. When Kid discovers the rumour of a good-luck goat on top of the building, she teams up with new friend Will to find out the truth. Along the way, Fleming switches voices so the diverse residents in the building get to share their stories, including the goat himself! On the surface, this is an enjoyable and sweet short novel (just 150 pages) for children. Author Fleming deftly deals with some darker issues, such as Kid’s debilitating stranger anxiety, and the fact Will was orphaned as a baby when both his parents died when the Twin Towers fell. But the central themes are of friendship, love, acceptance, and courage in many different forms, and Fleming has created a sweet story that can be understood on several levels. While this is decidedly a children’s book, I found it surprisingly appealing as an adult reader. Written by a Vancouver writer, I predict several Canadian accolades, and I would not be surprised by a Newbery nomination. Fingers crossed – this is an absolute delight for young and mature readers alike.
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