Animal Ark #4: Goat in the Garden

by Ben M. Baglio

Paperback, 1998



Local notes

PB Bag




Scholastic, Inc (1998), Paperback, 156 pages


At Animal Ark, Mandy Hope helps her parents treat animals of all shapes and sizes. Even outside the clinic, Mandy can't resist helping any animal in need.


Original publication date


Physical description

156 p.; 7.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Heather19
An okay book, definitely not the best Animal Ark book ever... I love Houdini, the mischievious goat who keeps escaping from Lydia's farm, and I like how determined Mandy is to help Lydia. But, while the book is supposidly about Houdini, it seems like that part is resolved by the middle of the book,
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and a lot of the book doesn't have much to do with him at all.
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LibraryThing member funstm
I have fond memories of reading Animal Ark as a kid. Along with all the other series I'm revisiting at the moment, I've decided to set out to read all of Animal Ark. I know I read a hell of a lot of them but I know I didn't quite get through the whole lot.

Animal Ark follows Mandy and James two
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crazy obsessed animal lovers for work together to save all the animals in the world. Mandy is the adopted daughter of two vets and many books in the series revolve around her hometown of York and her parent's veterinary clinic - Animal Ark. James is her best friend and fellow helper/trouble maker. The series promotes responsible animal ownership, willingness to work hard for worthwhile goals and encouragement to lend a hand to family, friends and others in the wider community. Animal Ark is pure gold for young readers. Unfortunately they're a bit simple and a lot repetitive for adult readers but let's face it, those of us rereading are likely here for nostalgia than plot. Younger readers will find the series engaging, humorous, a little silly and lots of fun.

Houdini the Goat is a master escape artist intent on getting next door and eating Sam Western's prized plants. Houdini's owner, Lydia Fawcett runs High Cross Farm - a small rundown farm with a herd of goats. She sells the goat milk to a local cheese factory run by Mr Wintersgill but the farm is in disrepair and the money she earns is barely enough to cover the food. Houdini's constant escapes don't help - Sam Western is extremely angry that Houdini keeps getting in to his yard. So much so that this time Houdini crosses his path, Sam feeds him Rhododendron - a plant fatal to goats. Mandy and James find Houdini and Sam and rescue Houdini, but he's pretty ill. Her parents examine him and declare there's nothing else they can do but Mandy refuses to give up. She remembers an old countryman's remedy and begs her parents to try it.

Thankfully it works but Mandy comes to realise it's not as simple as just healing Houdini. The farm is in dire straits and Lydia can barely afford to feed the animals at all. Mandy as per usual, steps in. Her first step is to find extra food for the goats. She actually comes up with a pretty good idea, applying to the local grocery store to donate extra produce in return for the good publicity of helping out. When they say they couldn't afford to deliver it as well, Mandy and James volunteer to pick it up and ride it over on their bikes.

The next issue that needs to be rectified is the fences. Mr Hope suggests chain link - the type of fence that goes around tennis courts. Mandy does her research but can't find a way to possibly pay for it. Right up until she rides past the Parker Smythe place and finds workmen replacing their tennis court chain link. When she asks if she could have the old fencing, Mr Parker Smythe feels generous enough to give the workmen time off to run it up to Lydia's place. Then she's on the hunt for someone to put it up. Luckily Ernie Bell still has all his old tools and a bit of reverse psychology sees him volunteering for the job. (Which also seems to spark a hint of romance between Ernie and Lydia.)

Mandy's final project for the farm ties in with her school assignment to design an ad campaign. She comes up with the slogan, 'High Cross Goats' Milk. Nature's Best.' and persuades Lydia to sell her milk directly to the local health stores and consumers to increase her finances. She makes a killing at the local show when she opens a stall to sell her milk and cheese.

I liked this one. Mandy's ideas for saving the farm were creative and interesting. I enjoyed reading about Houdini's escape attempts. And I enjoyed Mandy and James inspired problem solving in getting Ernie (and how they get Ernie) to help out. 4 stars for me and target audience.
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(12 ratings; 3.2)
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