Running the Goat is a “micro-press” publishing company located in Newfoundland. With a primary focus on publishing children’s books, more specifically those that celebrate the life and culture of the province. In addition, Running the Goat also publishes several letterpress-printed items.
In Mr. Beagle Goes to Rabbittown, Lori Doody writes a story about a small town full of bunnies who learn to welcome others into their community. When Mr. Beagle first arrives in the small town, he struggles to fit in as the new neighbour and business at his corner store is poor. After hearing of several mittens going missing, Mr. Beagle jumps in to help by using his strong sense of smell. He discovers the mittens are being taken by a cat who was also new to the neighbourhood. Tom Cat had dressed like a bunny to fit in and was taking the mittens for his three little kittens as he did not know how to make them. When Mr. Beagle solves the mystery, the town comes together to welcome both him and Tom Cat into their community. Tom Cat returns the missing mittens and the bunnies help to knit some for his kittens.
The illustrations in this book are so vibrant and colourful, which really helps to capture and hold the attention of the youngest readers or listeners. Adeline loves to flip through and just look at the pictures again and again. There are also funny messages written within the pictures such as the Hare Salon which adds even more entertainment for older children. The story helps to teach a lesson about acceptance of others and shows how different people can offer a variety of valuable skills to make up a community.
Kimmy & Mike by Dave Paddon, which is set to release in March of 2021, is a silly story about a brother and sister who head off to sea to bring back something for their mother to cook for their father for dinner. They are not having much luck, so they continue travelling the seas around the world, as far as Hawaii and Australia running into silly situations along the way, but still not finding anything for their mother to cook. Eventually, they see their mother coming in their father’s small boat, mocking them with a ton of fish she had caught. They continue travelling and searching for something to bring home to eat but still arrive back home with nothing.
The story is told using rhymes which makes it very enjoyable to read. It offers room for a great deal of imagination, as the brother and sister duo are able to travel all around the world in a day searching for food and coming across a great deal of hilarious situations. The use of Newfoundland slang dialect adds to the silliness of the story, and the glossary included helps to describe the words used throughout. The rhyming paired with the funny series of events offers entertainment for all readers.
The Wall and the Wind by Veselina Tomova is set in the middle of the twentieth century in Berlin when the Berlin Wall was developed. In her early childhood years, the girl in the story would explore and go on adventures with her brother, create and draw, and dream of a big future. When the wall appears, she is separated from the exploring and adventuring she loved to do. Years later, a crack in the wall forms and she sees the opportunity to escape with her son and to chase her dreams. She settles in Newfoundland, Canada, where she builds a wonderful, free life in which she can fulfil her dreams, and where no wall could withstand the fresh, open breeze of the wind. Eventually, when the wall is taken down in Berlin, she can travel to visit her brother and tend to the family farm, but always returns to her new home in Newfoundland.
This story is written in a way that younger readers can understand the way of life that was Germany during these times. While life may have been difficult while the wall kept the girl from chasing her dreams, she never gave up hope and leaped at the opportunity when it came about. Reading Veselina Tomova’s own personal story about coming to Canada seeking refuge which was included in the book was very touching. The importance of perseverance and not giving up on your goals when things are challenging is clear in the story and sends a positive and inspiring message to a young audience.
Barefoot Helen and the Giants by Andy Jones is a fictional folklore-style story about a young girl who lives in the woods, and how she overpowers three unfriendly giants. As a child, Helen lives in the forest raised by bears, until one day she is found by a couple who end up bringing her up as their own. When the family falls on hard times and decides to move to the city, Helen insists on staying behind and returning to live in the forest. There, she encounters the giants and through a series of events including befriending one of them, she defeats the three large beasts and saves a princess from the giant’s planned attack. Helen continues to live her life quietly in the woods, while the princess works tirelessly to find out who saved her. After setting up a storytelling hotel in hopes to find her rescuer, Helen eventually comes to tell her story and she and the princess are united.
Using inspiration from several other stories, Andy Jones creates a unique and comical tale, with each chapter leaving you wondering what could happen next. The short chapter-style picture book aimed toward an older children’s audience, keeps readers engaged and surprised by the series of events throughout, and finishes with a pleasing ending to tie it all together. Offering moments of suspense combined with amusement, Helen and the Giants is a fun, fictional book for young readers.
Footsteps in Bay de Verde by Charis Cotter is a spooky picture book set in Newfoundland and is inspired by a true ghost story the author was once told. Three children are staying up past their bedtime in hopes to hear some of the interesting stories their parent’s visitors always tell. As they listen, everyone in the house suddenly hears the distinctive footsteps of one of their regular visitors, who they believe is still in hospital in Saint John’s at the time. When they hear the footsteps go past and continue into the dark back kitchen, they all head to check it out, only to find no one present.
This thrill-offering short story keeps readers engaged and wanting to read on with every page. The dark yet highly detailed illustrations add an intense degree of suspense and contribute to the overall creepy feel of the story. The book is the perfect choice for older children who love a short mystery.