Writing “THE GREEDY GOAT”: a guest post by Petr Horácek
Petr Horáček’s latest picturebook, The Greedy Goat (Walker Books), is a cautionary tale bursting with his signature vibrant colours. Goat is bored of eating grass and decides to give other snacks a try: the dog’s food and the cat’s milk, the pig’s potatoes, and even, rather zealously, the farmer’s pants. But over-eating is never a good thing, even for a greedy goat, and soon she feels rather unwell, turning a shade of green in a double-spread that will particularly delight little readers. She eventually gets better, but will she ever learn? The cheeky ending is in tone with the rest of this lovely tale of naughtiness, which cunningly teaches days of the week too. I can think of no other illustrator that makes readers want to pick up pencils and paint and start drawing more than Horáček. It is deceptively simple, with a child-like quality that is reminiscent of Eric Carle in the use of primary colours, texture and collage. This is what makes it so inviting, and so utterly joyous. Every Petr Horáček book is a real treat.
I am delighted to welcome Petr for a guest post about writing The Greedy Goat:
Writing “THE GREEDY GOAT”
by Petr Horáček
I always liked the Czech illustrator and writer Josef Lada. His pictures of goats are funny. Lada’s goats are often walking on their rear legs like humans:
The goats in Lada’s stories are often described as very mischievous and not very clever. I suppose this description of a goat is rather accurate.
Have you seen the sculpture of a goat by Picasso? What a funny animal the goat really is!
Once a year, I stay for a couple of weeks in a beautiful cottage, in the beautiful Czech countryside. The cottage belongs to my friend and it’s situated between a wood and an apple orchard.
When it’s dark, deer come from the wood. They roar and they eat apples from the ground. In the night, all I can see is just deer eyes shining in the darkness.
When the sun comes out I have another visitor. A white goat. The goat doesn’t eat only apples. She eats everything. Flowers, vegetables, left overs on the compost heap and anything accidently left on the garden table.
The goat is a real nuisance, but as annoying as she can be, I can’t stop myself thinking, that she is actually quite funny.
The orchard is also the place, where I draw and write new ideas for my picture books.
It was only a question of time when I’d write a book about a Greedy Goat.
This is one of the first corrected versions of The Greedy Goat. In the book we allowed the goat to eat the farmer’s pants, but the picture of a bra had to go.
I had fun writing the story and I had even more fun illustrating it.
I was trying to imagine the farmer without his pants, trying to get them back from the greedy goat, but again, I never got too far with that idea.
In the cottage, in this magical place, I stay on my own. I cook for myself and I’m not very good at it, so I eat anything. Just like the goat.
When you are on your own the time goes slowly and you count the days and that’s perhaps why the names of days are mentioned in the book too.
Here are some of the early sketches of the goat:
And here are some of the final illustrations:
I enjoyed working on The Greedy Goat very much and I hope you will enjoy the pictures and reading the book too!
Many thanks for this insight, Petr, we do indeed love your Greedy Goat!
The Greedy Goat is published by Walker Books and is out now. You can purchase a copy here.
Source: review copy from publisher