Saturday, June 14, 2014

Book Review: The Goats by Brock Cole

You know how there are always a couple of kids at camp (or school) who just don't fit in? Well, the two kids in this book who fit that bill are subjected to a cruel prank that's a tradition at their camp: they are labelled "goats" and left naked out on an island in the middle of a lake. But these kids don't cry and moan and wait for the repercussions after the kids who abandoned them come back and torture them for the rest of the summer. Instead they escape.

I loved the message of this story where the two kids who are bullied, instead of taking the bullying, and instead of fighting back unrealistically, they take a third way and they get out of there. They call the girl's mother who, not understanding what exactly has happened, says she can't come to pick them up until the weekend (it's Parents' Weekend.) So they have several days to kill and they don't want to go back to camp. Instead, they find inner resourcefulness, and they each make a true friend.

This book was fantastic. Mr. Cole really got into these kids' heads. They felt very authentic. I liked how for a large part of the book, they didn't even have names, but when they really became important to each other, they did. And I like the message, about how kids don't have to tolerate bullying, but also the only option isn't acting completely out of character and fighting back. Often kids get a message from adults that if they don't like how things are going, they should do the complete opposite, which is never an easy thing to do, and isn't good, practical advice.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

I bought this book from Park Road Books, my local independent bookstore.

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