In this sequel to Lost Goat Lane, author Rosa Jordan has chosen 15-year-old Justin Martin as her main character. Although Justin is thrilled to have been picked for the varsity baseball team in his freshman year, he soon finds his life too complicated to give baseball practice his full attention. Unwittingly selling his pet goat to a man who abuses animals, Justin is faced with a hard decision about what to do about it. To cause further problems, his absentee father shows up and wants Justin to be part of his life.
The vibrant community of Justin’s family and helpful neighbors lend warmth and reality to the story. It is adorable how the younger children come to tell Justin what they have overheard adults say about him. They have a regular communication network established, which is just how young children tend to be. If they know something, they can’t wait to tell.
Without giving away the entire plot I have to say I was a bit disappointed about the way the “goatnapping” was handled, although I do think it opens the door for useful conversations about how to deal with injustice and whether breaking the law is ever justified.
If you haven’t read Lost Goat Lane, I would definitely recommend reading it first. Lost Goat Lane won awards and was the inspiration of a Showtime movie called The Sweetest Gift. The Goatnappers is a pleasant follow up story that raises some important issues, giving the reader plenty of room to make up his or her own mind.
The Goatnappers by Rosa Jordan
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Pub. Date: April 2007
Ages 9-12 Middle School