Running the Goat Books & Broadsides is a micro-press specializing in letterpress-printed and fine trade books, chapbooks and broadsides by some of Newfoundland and Labrador’s finest writers, and I’ve put off writing about them long enough. For the past few months, the kind folks at Running the Goat have been sending me the most astounding books for children and young people. As with most (if not all) books for children, it is difficult to review them other than commenting on the quality, the illustrations and so on. So, I’m just going to say that the samples they have sent me are quite out-of-the-ordinary. There is a definite “Newfoundland” feel about them, which might limit their interest to that particular province, nevertheless, I found them very interesting, particularly the novel To See the Stars by Jan Andrews and the large picture book Seasons Before the War by novelist Bernice Morgan.
Here is the edited synopsis of each book, reprinted from the Running the Goats website. For more information on each title, please visit their site.
Seasons Before the War by Bernice Morgan
Bernice Morgan’s Seasons Before the War is a delightful, unsentimental remembrance of growing up in St. John’s, Newfoundland just before the city, and the world, changed irrevocably with the advent of WWII. Artwork by acclaimed UK-based illustrator Brita Granström beautifully captures the sweet nostalgia of Morgan’s words and the joys of childhood.
To See The Stars by Jan Andrews
In her deeply affecting final novel, acclaimed children’s writer and storyteller Jan Andrews gives us Edie Murphy, an indomitable and engaging heroine on the cusp of womanhood. The novel moves from Edie’s remote Newfoundland outport to St. John’s, and finally to New York City’s Lower East Side.
Dancing With Daisy by Jan L. Coates
When he finds a photograph of his grandfather as a young man, Liam is full of questions. But that’s just fine, because Grampy has a story to spin with every answer. Acclaimed author Jan L. Coates and award-winning illustrator Josée Bisaillon join forces in this charming picture book to craft a tale both touching and amusing about ageing and the bond between a grandfather and his grandson.
Paint the Town Pink by Lori Doody
Inspired by the story of two flamingos that were sighted in Newfoundland years ago, Lori Doody has crafted a charming and gentle tale about being a stranger in a new place, needing to belong, and ultimately being welcomed in the warmest of ways.
Peg Bearskin: A traditional Newfoundland tale (revised edition)
Peg’s big, ugly, and hairy, yes, but she’s also smart enough and brave enough to outsmart a witch, help a king, and find husbands for her two beautiful sisters and for herself. This brilliant re-take on a classic folktale from Placentia Bay, Newfoundland will have readers of all ages cheering for Peg. And falling for her too!
Again, I’ve only chosen some select text from the Running the Goats website to describe each book. I encourage you to have a look at all their entire catalogue and check out “The Press & Printshop” page, too.