Mr. Baboomski and the Wonder Goat by Richard Joyce was sent to me by Amazon Vine in exchange for my honest review.
I chose the book mainly because my sixteen year old daughter has an obsession with goats. I have been forced to look at so many goat based photos, websites, goats in real life, that I now naturally gravitate towards anything goat like, despite not being that keen.
Luckily, the book was quite fun.
It is marketed as being excellent for children who like Mr. Gum and Mr. Stink. I see the Mr. Gum references. I’m not so sure about Mr. Stink, but I do think that if you like the Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face series you will like this.
It tells the story of the luckless Tom Watkins. His mother has gone to far flung lands to work on an eco project. His father, dejected and unable to cope with looking after Tom, running a house and holding down a job, has lost his job, forcing Tom and he to uproot and take refuge in Cornwall. Tom is depressed. He has no friends, the town he has ended up in is obsessed by a fish called Scubbly, and the school is run by a corrupt head teacher and her son, the bully Hubert, and Piers, the richest boy in school, whose father owns the Scubbly processing factory. Tom gets on the wrong side of them from day one, and rather like his hopeless father, Tom cannot cope.
Exploring the neighbourhood, he comes across a friendly goat who he accidentally sort of blows up, and going to apologise to the goat’s owner, he comes across ex circus performer, Mr. Baboomski, who has left his native Escorvia, to take his goat back to Ireland where it originally came from.
Tom and Mr. Baboomski become friends and Tom learns a lot from him, including how to juggle, and how not to be an utter failure.
The book is quite funny, and is well paced and engaging. It’s a chapter book with fabulous illustrations by Freya Hartas. I’d recommend it to boys and girls aged 7-10. I really liked the in between chapter stories where Mr. Baboomski tells about his life in Escorvia. I found the moral messages of the book rather off putting at times. I think they were laid on a bit thick here and there, and detracted from the fact that this is a cracking, silly adventure story. It doesn’t really need a moral, but if you like books with moral purpose, this provides them in spades.