Thursday, 10 March 2011
BOOK REVIEWS ~ Postman Pat and the Goat's Supper ~ By: John Cunliffe
There are few things Alisdair and Isobel like better than a Postman Pat story! Perhaps it is their British heritage coming out, I don't know!
There aren't many Postman Pat books available here, but we were lucky enough to obtain a couple in a recent inter-library loan shipment. One of these was "Postman Pat and the Goat's Supper."
Pat delivers an unusual "big, soft, squishy parcel" to Miss Hubbard. She asks Pat to "have a cup of coffee" while she opens it. Inside is a "lovely blue jumper [sweater]." It fits perfectly.
"What a kind cousin," said Pat. "Does she knit things for men?" (Obviously hinting he would like a new jumper, too!)
Pat goes on his way and forgets about the jumper until he sees it on the washing line one evening, when he is returning home from work. But since there isn't any wind, Pat assumes it will be fine. But Alf's goat has other ideas!
"No-one saw it jump over the wall, looking for something to eat for its supper. Its bright eyes spotted the jumper, and it trotted over to see what it was. Then it did what some goats will do. It tugged and it nibbled ... and chewed at it ... and ate a great chunk out of the sleeve."
Of course Miss Hubbard is very upset when she discovered the "hole in the hedge, and then saw the hole in her new jumper!" After all, it was her favourite. Pat suggests Miss Hubbard writes to her cousin "Nellie in Nelson" to ask her to knit another sleeve to replace the one that was damaged.
But, "before the end of the week, there was a postcard from Nellie." Obviously there are no privacy restrictions surrounding the Royal Mail, at least not the cards and letters that are delivered in Greendale, as Postman Pat reads the card aloud to Miss Hubbard, before she even gets a chance to look at it!
"It's not good news ... She says she has no more wool of that colour."
"Oh, deary me, it's just what I feared,"
"Don't take on," said Pat. "I'll keep a look out."
And Pat is true to his word. He ties a strand of the yarn around his steering-wheel and does not rest until he casually observes Granny Dryden knitting a blue scarf for Ted Glen.
"The very same colour!" said Pat, running to get the wool from his van. It was a perfect match."
Our favourite line in the book comes when Pat asks Granny Dryden, "Can you knit sleeves?"
She responds to his query, declaring, "I was knitting sleeves before you were born!" (On subsequent readings, both children tried to deliver that line before I could read it out loud!)
Apparently Granny Dryden has a whole cupboard full of the exact shade of blue wool, and she kindly knits a new sleeve for Miss Hubbard's jumper. Miss Hubbard has learned her lesson and never leaves it hanging outside to dry overnight.
And Alf mends the fence and the goat "had to make do with oats and grass for its supper after that!"
A delightful British tale! However, even Postman Pat cannot inspire me to begin knitting again. (I haven't attempted to do so for many years.) I'll leave that task to Cousin Nellie and Granny Dryden!