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Page, P.K.
Illustrated by Marika Gal
Victoria, Beach Holme Publishers, 1994.22pp, cloth, $17.95
ISBN 0-88878-334-5. CIP

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10

Reviewed by Alison Mews

Volume 22 Number 6
1994 November / December

The final paragraph of A Flask of Sea Water ends with "... oh, yes, the goat! But that is another story." The Goat that Flew is that story. It is not necessary to read the prequel to understand the sequel, especially as the main character Erland is only mentioned in the first story; however, it would help to set a framework and introduce some of the characters.

This original story, told in fairy-tale tradition, describes the plight of a young man who was previously transformed into a goat by an evil wizard. Aware that he is different from the other goats, but unsure why, he decides to see the world.

Eventually he happens upon Corille, who recognizes him and, knowing that only sea water can revoke the spell, enlists the prince's aid to use the precious flask of sea water that had previously won him the princess's hand. Unfortunately, there is only enough water to restore his human voice and blue eyes, and, thus equipped, he must brave the dangerous journey through the wizard's land to reach the sea again.

Armed with magic gifts, Erland's three friends (Galaad and Meera from the prequel, along with Corille) follow him to do battle with the evil wizard, with results both satisfying and surprising. An excellent read-aloud for Primary children, this long picture-book deserves wide readership.

Regarding the illustrations, Marika Gal has followed the format set by her father Laszlo Gal in A Flask of Sea Water by framing her pictures similarly and using comparable colour tones throughout. Her style is sharper, though, and more distinct, with carefully delineated faces that are more expressive of the narrative's emotion. In a sense, the illustrations are prettier but less controlled. I couldn't help noticing that the magician was not consistently depicted. On the cover his eyebrows and hair are dark, but inside he is white-haired in two pictures and grey in another. Also, his eyes are blue but in A Flask of Sea Water the magician is shown with a long dark beard and described as having "eyes as black as licorice."

These are minor points, but children are sticklers for consistency, and such variances can detract from the unity of a picture-book. I believe that pictures should extend the text but, in so doing, must not misrepresent it. Altogether, this is a fine collaboration and an impressive entrance into the picture-book realm for Marika Gal. I am eagerly awaiting further adventures set in the land of Ure, as promised by the ending of The Goat That Flew.


Alison Mews is Coordinator, Centre for Instructional Services, at the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, in St. John's, Newfoundland

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