More than anything, Beatrice longs to be a schoolgirl. But in her small African village, only children who can afford uniforms and books can go to school. Beatrice knows that with six children to care for, her family is much too poor.
But then Beatrice receives a wonderful gift from some people far away -- a goat! Fat and sleek as a ripe mango, Mugisa (which means "luck") gives milk that Beatrice can sell. With Mugisa's help, it looks as if Beatrice's dream may come true after all.
Page McBrier and Lori Lohstoeter beautifully recount this true story about how one child, given the right tools, is able to lift her family out of poverty. Thanks to Heifer Project International -- a charitable organization that donates livestock to poor communities around the world -- other families like Beatrice's will also have a chance to change their lives.
When her family's fat, sleek new goat arrives in her poor Ugandan village, little Beatrice hugs her close and whispers, "Mama says you are our lucky gift...." And indeed it is true. Soon the goat bears two kids and provides enough milk to both feed the family and sell for profit. Until the goat arrived, life was very hard for Beatrice and her five brothers and sisters. The family could not afford to send the children to school, and it was difficult to make ends meet. Magically this one small animal, one of 12 given the village, opens up a new world of health and prosperity. Before the year is out, Beatrice happily realizes her dream of becoming a school girl and her delighted family moves into a sturdy new house.
Based on the true account of one family who received aid from Heifer Project International, a charitable organization that donates livestock to poor communities around the world, this moving story is eloquently and gracefully recounted. Vividly evoking the lush tropical landscape of central Africa, Lohstoeter's rich, deeply-hued illustrations perfectly complement the text and make Beatrice and her world affectingly real. Although she may live far removed from the comfortable middle-class lives of many young readers, it is clear that Beatrice is a girl of unusual heart and, like any child, filled with hopes and dreams. In her afterword Hillary Rodham Clinton writes, "Beatrice's Goat is a heartwarming reminder that families, wherever they live, can change their lives for the better." A portion of the publisher's proceeds goes to support the Heifer Project. -- Marianne Painter
|4 - 8
|Feb 1, 2001
|Atheneum Books for Young Readers