There’s a Goat in my Coat by Rosemary Milne & Andrew McLean
Rosemary Milne, as well as being a teacher, has also written for ABC programs, including the lyrics
for the Playschool theme There's a Bear in There. As both author and illustrator dedicated this book
to their grandchildren, I “test-drove” it with mine. They were delighted with the bright and
clever illustrations and loved the rhymes, which cry out for actions and facial expressions and elicit
squeals of delight from pre-schoolers. Our favourite poem was One Step Two Steps and the
illustrations to One Old Octopus.
This book could be used in a class setting with three-to-five year olds, or by grandparents, parents or
friends with younger children.
Barbara Wilson, St George Christian School, NSW
There’s A Goat in my Coat – a fun play with words that have children laughing, jumping, hopping and
shaking getting rid of the wriggles and ready for bed. Rosemary Milne has done a wonderful job
introducing rhyme and rhythm to a young audience in a non-threatening and fun way. As a children’s
poet and mother of a young child I found this book refreshing and was delighted to share it with my
three year old daughter. The colourful, refreshing illustrations by Andrew McLean only enhance the
rhymes bringing them alive in the minds of both child and adult.
These easy to remember rhymes with rhythm and bounce focus on subjects that children can relate to
from a very young age. The illustrations of children involved in activities relating to the rhyme open
topics for early one to one discussion and bonding. Can you do that? How many teddies can you see?
Who has the spotted top? Who has the striped pants?
Used in an Early Childhood or Kindergarten setting the rhymes lead themselves to the introduction of
words, early maths and the development of gross motor skills. There are rhymes which promote
awareness of body parts, ability and the world of our animal friends. Does our nose really run away?
What do snakes do? Possums are awake at night, are you?
Jennifer Deaves, Homeschooler, South Australia
This is a delightful picture book full of many different types of poems. The illustrations are very cute.
It is perfect for young children but can still be used successfully with primary children.
This text would be a great resource to use in your classroom when teaching poetry as it has a variety
of different poems in it that use different techniques and topics.
You could also use it when teaching grammar as many of the poems focus on different aspects of
language. With so many animal poems (lizards, penguins, snakes, possums, octopus, monkeys etc) in
there, it is a perfect accompaniment to any unit on animals.
I also enjoyed the poem Get Down off that Wall which provides an interesting twist on Humpty
Dumpty and can be used when studying modern adaptations of classic children’s tales. It would then
be a useful activity to have students create their own inversion of another children’s tale.
My own children loved the read aloud qualities of the poems and you could also take advantage of
this in your classroom by reading them for fun, acting the poems out or doing reader’s theatre with
some of the poems. There are some great action poems included in this collection and just some fun
nonsense poems that your students will delight in.
This book would also make a thoughtful gift to new parents or young children.
Peter Bond, Primary teacher, Broulee, NSW
Well, with the famous Play School chant “There’s a bear in there …” under your belt there is no
doubt that Rosemary Milne can mix some fine rhyming tunes. Andrew McLean’s illustrations add a
fresh and playful touch.
This book offers a wide collection of playful chants and rhymes that spark children’s interest and keep
them engaged and keen to learn. They let the teacher lose his/her inhibitions and have fun with the
children, while the children can move around and be silly without realising that they are actually
learning new things.
I loved the fact that this collection of rhymes, allows the children to learn new words, sing along and
make up their own actions. In my classroom the children adored Wriggle and Giggle, Running Out the
Door Socks, Bouncy Bear and Jelly Belly Shakes, just to name a few.
After learning new rhymes from this book as a whole class we had a go at making up our own. First,
we explored rhyming words, including: house-mouse, bed-head, cat-fat etc. Next, we had a go at
putting them into sentences. For example: “The cat was very fat.” After that, we added more detail
and describing words to make our rhymes sound more interesting. One of our favourites was; “The cat
was so fat, that he fell out of bed and bumped his head!”
Overall, a great book to read and engage children in rhymes, hopefully they’ll go home and try and
teach mum and dad.
Rhiannon Neate, Victoria
Today we read There’s a Goat in my Coat. It was a rainy day and we needed to keep the class busy,
so the short poems and rhymes in this book, kept busy minds and imaginations happy. I was really
pleased with the illustrations as the described each rhyme or poem beautifully. They were funny,
imagination and creative as well as bright and colourful. I allowed each child to choose a rhyme or
poem to read and to hold the book up for the class to see, so each child was able to participate in this
reading experience. One of my favourite poems and rhymes in the book is WRIGGLE AND
GIGGLE . This is an interactive rhyme where the children can copy the actions, so we had a class of
wriggle fingers, toes, hips, noses, bottoms, heads and jumping feet. This made the class giggle and
wriggle into laughter. Another favourite rhyme is POSSUM TIME. This is a quiet rhyme about a
possum in the night and was great for settling the class and allowing the class to use their
imaginations and think about all the creatures of the night. This is a great book to read anytime to a
young Pre-Prep or Prep class as the poems and rhymes are short but still cleverly written.
After reading this book, the class and I wrote or own rhyme about our class and displayed it for the
parents to read. So this book was a great introduction to rhyming and poems as it was fun and had
wonderful pictures to allow the young age to get involved with the rhyme. We also had each child
pick out a rhyme they enjoyed and draw their own illustrations. We displayed this in our class room
along with a copy of the rhyme from the book. I recommend this book to age groups 3-6, classes who
are beginning to explore rhyming or just for a fun book to involve the whole class. The activities to
follow up this book are endless as they are so many different poems and rhymes of all different topics.
So it’s a fun book that anyone can get caught up in.
Claire Evans, Chancellor Park World of Learning, Pre-prep class, Queensland
As soon as children see the cover of this book they are going to be attracted to it. With illustrations of
children dancing, standing on their heads and a goat in a goat kicking off socks watched by a pup and
kitten it has every element to appeal not only to the young.
Inside is pages and pages of rhymes covering topics as varied as wriggling your body parts in
‘Wriggle and Giggle’, a bear having a hair cut in ‘Bouncy Bear’ and a new take on Humpty Dumpty
in ‘Get Down off that Wall Humpty’.
Whilst these can be read aloud to very young children, they also will subtly help those learning to read
by introducing new sounds and words. The author suggests letting children substitute their own lines
in some of the poems to add to the fun.
Putting words aside for a moment, there is just as much to enjoy in the book in the illustrations. They
are colourful, fun and could be a great introduction to physical activities children could tie in with the
rhymes: can you hop on your left leg (‘Hopping Song’) and could also be used to practice counting
skills; how many steps can you take ‘ One Step, Two Steps’ as well as observation skills; can you see
the green snake? (‘Scaly Snakes’).
The book has a sturdy hard cover, (which would wipe clean if sticky fingers got on it) and lovely
smooth paper inside.
This is a book that would be equally of benefit in a home, library or classroom.
Raelene Hall, WA
This book has a rhyme to take the child throughout the day. It starts with a wriggly rhyme and an
illustration showing a child getting out of bed. It is the sort of book that will teach a lot about rhyme
and words that sound similar and all in a fun way. It also teaches about some of the vagaries of the
English language with words that are pronounced the same but spelt differently, eg bear and hair, zoo
and do, please and sneeze, laugh and bath, toes and nose.
With the poem Stripes readers will find it is not only a rhyme but will challenge counting as readers
are asked to count the stripes. One of my favourites was the Piglet in Puddles. Readers will learn not
only about counting but alliteration in One Old Octopus.
The book takes the reader through the day with lots of play and then leads into bath time and bed
which has a wriggle rhyme to jump into bed.
Dr Rosemary Milne is a Development Psychologist who has taught both pre-school and primary aged
children. She has also written scripts for Playschool, including the well known title song, There’s a
Bear in There. All this experience shows in this lively collection of rhymes
Andrew McLean has won several awards for his illustrations and it’s not hard to see why. His
illustrations are lively and fun. I loved bouncy bear in particular and loved the illustration that went
with Penguins and Lazy Little Lizards. The colouring of Possum Time with the possums after dark is
lovely and the possums all have such cute faces.
This book is sure to quickly become a favourite with children, parents and teachers.
Dale Harcombe, NSW
There's a Goat in my Coat is a fun, colourful and lively picture book written by Rosemary Milne and
Andrew Mclean. It is aimed at young children and features many rhymes and rhythms for them to
enjoy. The illustrations are simple, colourful and greatly add to the enjoyment of the rhymes. Some
of the rhymes included in the book are 'Bouncy bear', 'Round and round the roundabout' and 'Possum
time'. The book features original rhymes and uses creative language for children to play with.
This is an excellent book for helping children to listen for rhyming words and to look at spelling
patterns in rhyming words. Children can also enjoy opportunities to act out rhymes in the book, such
as 'Wriggle and giggle' and 'Hopping song'. The book features a variety of punctuation such as
commas and exclamation marks, which adults can point out and discuss how they are used in the text.
The wide range of vocabulary used in the book can also be explored and played with by children.
Other teaching ideas include covering some of the rhyming words in the poems to encourage children
to predict what the missing word might be. The children in my class also enjoyed thinking of their
own rhyming sentences to add to some of the rhymes.
This book would be particularly suitable for Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Prep aged children,
and was also greatly enjoyed by my Grade 1/2 class. It is recommended for any parents or teachers
looking for fun, playful rhymes to entertain their children.
Kathleen Temple, Bundoora, VIC
This hardback book includes 25 action rhymes perfect for getting young children moving. Each poem
has its own page or double spread and is delightfully illustrated. The reading aloud of these rhymes
would encourage the development of gross motor skills such as hopping, dancing and rolling.
Language skills can also be enhanced.
All of Me is full of opposites such as small/tall and hot/cold. There are also a few counting rhymes,
and Round and Round the Roundabout is full of prepositions.
This book, though probably aimed at two to six year olds, could also be used to teach older children
other language features. Many of the rhymes have good examples of alliteration and onomatopoeia.
This book will appeal to young children and is a great asset to any home or school library.
Nova Gibson, Summerland Primary, New Zealand
This is a book of delightful, fun and nonsense ‘read aloud’ poems for pre-schoolers to enjoy.
Definitely a ‘sit on the couch and read together book.’ Much pointing to and exploring the
captivating illustrations will be involved. Reading many of the rhymes will lead to movement. This
book is great tool to encourage the pre-schooler to become involved in the joy of language and
definitely a book which promotes interest in the exploration of sounds and words and fun with
There are penguins who flap their flippers; lazy lizards who eat luscious snails; a boy who’s a walking
zoo, with a rat on his back and ants in his pants; a bouncy bear with long brown hair who goes for a
hair cut; socks that run out the door; number rhymes; animal rhymes; jelly belly shakes; scaly snakes;
a revision of humpty dumpty and many more.
The author suggests her book is one for parents to take pleasure in with their young children,
delighting in the rhyming words, rhythm of the verses and the new and nonsense words; ‘Like ice-
cream making the children want to taste the words again and again.’ She recommends children listen
and join in and even make up their own lines.
This book could effectively be used by the pre-school, early childhood teacher, as a read aloud text,
encouraging children to predict what might come next; getting children to move or act out the verses
where appropriate. A lot of fun could be had with this book. Children would very quickly memorize
their favourite verses! It could definitely be used by parents of pre-school children in a similar way.
Caren Wnygaard, VIC