Title: Eddie and GardeniaEddie and Gardenia
Author: Carolyn Haywood
Pages: 191
Recommended Ages: 7-10
Star Rating: ★★★★

Welcome back, Eddie!

The Story.

Eddie is in trouble. Or rather, his goat, Gardenia, is in trouble. See, Gardenia likes to eat things – everything, in fact. Including the convertible top off of Mr. Wilson’s new Buick roadster. There’s only one problem – Mr. Wilson does not enjoy having the top of his expensive new car eaten by a goat. So Gardenia must go.

The decision is made to send Gardenia to Uncle Ed’s ranch in Texas. Uncle Ed agrees to this arrangement and goes one step further – he suggests that Eddie make the trip with Gardenia and spend a couple of months becoming a real live cowboy on a real life ranch!

This promises to be a trip like no other!


Eddie has a rip-roaring time out on the ranch with his Uncle Ed, Aunt Minnie, and cousin, George. He learns how to feed the livestock, drive a truck, ride in a roundup, and became an all-around better sport.

I really like the style of Carolyn Haywood’s stories – I’ll demonstrate it by including part of the first chapter here.

Eddie Wilson had a pet goat named Gardenia. Like all other goats, Gardenia was only happy when she was eating something or had climbed on top of something. Gardenia managed to be happy most of the time. But the happier Gardenia was, the unhappier Eddie’s father and mother were. Pie was Gardenia’s favorite food, but she wasn’t fussy about it. Chewing seemed to be her main enjoyment; flavor came second.

One afternoon she got out of the fenced yard in which she was supposed to stay, and climbed on top of Mr. Wilson’s new Buick, a convertible roadster. This would not have been so bad if Gardenia had contented herself with the view but she began eating the canvas top of the car. When Mr. Wilson came home from his office, there was Gardenia, chewing a mouthful of Buick. Her face was turned up to the sky and her eyes were closed in contentment. At her feet there was a big gaping hole in the top of the car.

Mr. Wilson was carrying a newspaper under his arm. He rolled it up, threw it with all his strength at Gardenia, and shouted, “Get down off there, you good-for-nothing goat!”

Gardenia was so surprised that she leaped into the air, and when she came down, her two front feet went right through the hole she had chewed in the top of the car. Her back legs folded under her and she sat down with a thud on the roof. This made Mr. Wilson shout louder, and the louder he shouted, the harder Gardenia kicked her front legs, which were now hanging down inside the car.

Eddie and his three brothers, who were playing ball up the street behind the firehouse, heard their father shouting. They all came running home at full speed. When they reached their driveway and saw Gardeina sitting on top of their father’s new Buick, they all began to shout, just as Mr. Wilson was shouting.

When Mr. Wilson saw the boys, he cried, “Edward Wilson, if I ever get that goat down off that car, it’s going to be the end of that goat. Rudy, get me a ladder! Frank, get me a rope! Joe, pick up my hat! Eddie, do something! Get inside the car and hold her legs before she kicks the whole top off!”

Eddie got inside the car. He reached up and grabbed Gardenia’s front legs. This made Gardenia throw her back end around all the harder.

“Goodness gracious!” cried Mr. Wilson. “Hurry up with the ladder.”

“Here it is,” cried Rudy, placing the ladder against the car. “Do you want me to go up and get her?”

“I’ll get her,” said Mr. Wilson.

“Here’s the rope,” Frank shouted.

“I don’t need any rope,” said Mr. Wilson. “What did you bring a rope for?”

“You told me to get a rope, Dad,” said Frank.

By this time Mr. Wilson had his hands on Gardenia and was tugging at her. He couldn’t pry her loose.

“Hey, Papa!” cried Eddie, from inside the car. “I can’t hold her. She’s pulling away.”
“Let go! Let go!” shouted Mr. Wilson. “How can I get her loose if you hold on to her legs?”

“You told me to hold on to her legs, Papa,” Eddie cried.

“Well, let go of them now!” Mr. Wilson shouted.

Eddie let go, and Gardenia’s legs flew up thorugh the hole in the top of the car.

In a few moments Mr. Wilson had the goat by her collar. He climbed down the ladder and set her on the ground. Eddie took hold of her and marched her through the gate and into her pen. He gave her a hard whack and said, “You’re more trouble than you’re worth, and now Papa’s mad. He’s awful mad, and this time you’re going to get it good and so am I. Why can’t you stay where you belong? Always getting me into trouble.”

Gardenia just walked away and began to eat some hay. Her face was turned up and her eyes were half shut. She was having a little dessert. [pgs. 11-17]

Teehee. :)

Simple euphemisms – gosh, gee, golly, etc. – are used.

Conclusion. A fun little story.

Review © 2015 Laura Verret

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