Monday, March 19, 2012

The Back Leg of a Goat: A Tania Abbey Adventure

In The Back Leg of a Goat: A Tania Abbey Adventure, written by Penny Reeve, Tania has a great idea. She wants to raise $50 to buy a goat for a poor family in India. She and her friend Sue, who recently moved away, had already raised $12.65. Tania says it’s enough to buy “the back leg of a goat, perhaps, but not enough for a whole one.”

Tania is determined to get enough money for a goat, but she needs ideas for a fundraiser. Her younger brother, Daniel, enlists the help of his friend Sam and Sam’s sister, Emily. Emily comes up with a brilliant plan. Tania is reluctant to go along with it because she doesn’t really like Emily, even though she doesn’t know Emily very well. But, since her desire to help the poor is greater than her dislike for Emily, Tania decides to work with Emily on the project.

One Sunday at church, the minister asks the congregation if they truly love God. The minister says, “You might be good. You might know a lot about him, but how much do you love God?” This really makes Tania think about God and her relationship with him. She knows about God, but she has to decide if she loves him enough to ask him to come into her heart.

Pencil sketch illustrations by Fred Apps are scattered throughout the text.

What I Like: This is a good book to fuel a child’s imagination for costume making. It’s a good book for teaching kids about caring for others. And, it's a good book that addresses the question of what it really means to love God.

What I Dislike: In the story line, it said Emily and her brother Sam used to live in India. Their background is useful in the storyline and the idea of helping a poor family in India. But, there is no mention of why they used to live there and why they no longer live there. It just seemed a bit odd to mention the fact that someone who now lives in Australia used to live in India but not give any other explanation for it.

Tania’s younger brother, Daniel, is recruited to help with the fundraising, but her older sister, Megan, is never asked to do so. Again, there is no explanation given for that.

Spoiler alert: The fundraiser is successful and they raise more than enough to reach their goal. However, no mention is made of what the extra money might be used for.

None of these omissions are big issues, I just thought they were worth mentioning. There are also a few punctuation errors in the text.

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: 9-12.

Publisher Info: Christian Focus, 2008; ISBN: 9781845503406; Paperback, 89 pages, $6.99.

Buy now at ChristianBook $5.99!

Or buy at $6.99.

Special Info: This is a book in the publisher’s Tania Abbey Adventures series. You can learn more about the series at the publisher’s website. You can also visit the author’s website.

Also, the characters in the book are Australian. The spelling of some normally familiar words might look strange, as “favorite” is spelled as “favourite” and “realize” is “realize”. Also, the kids say the word “Mum” for “Mom”.

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1 comment:

Penny said...

Thanks for this review Christine.
Your readers might be interested to know that books 3 and 4 of this series are due for release this year - so more light will be shed on the George family's life/involvement in India. :) Keep an eye on my website for more details.

There you can also find free/downloadable teachers notes to support groups studying this novel at school or home-school.

Penny Reeve.

PS. the children in Back Leg ended up purchasing 4 goats with their raised funds. I'll need to ask Tania next time we chat what they purchased with the remaining funds. :)