While the underlying message behind this allegory is not the most original, the premise, and relationship between the goats/gappers/3 families in the town of Frip, is. Plus the gapeprs in general are rather hilarious, though I felt bad for the goats (The gappers, little tennis-ball-like eye-covered beasts love the goats and shriek with joy when upon them, but it makes the goats lie down, sad). Anyway.. the illustrations are AWESOME and elevate the book to a whole new level of enjoyable-ness. Also: Capable is an awesome name. Not subtle but that wasn't the aim, of course.
This book kind of makes me want to give Saunders a second chance- I was kind of let down by The Braindead Megaphone
, but maybe he's just one of those people who is better at fiction than editorializing.
Overall, I recommend it for a quick, amusing read. I'm not sure if it's intended as a children's book or not: it could work either way..
Oh also there was a cute poke at gender roles, with two little girls who looked very pretty if they stood very still, and did so, because they wanted to look cute for boys. I thought that was a subtle and amusing message.
Edit: Actually, thinking more about it, I think this book managed to bring up quite a few complex philosophical issues (impressive consideing how short it is), such as: do people DESERVE their ill/good fortune, should you share/help your neighbors, etc etc. Actually pretty thought provoking, if you're that kind of person. Or you can read it as a straight-up, literal story, perhaps to a child, and it would still be enjoyable.