Cover image for Beatrice's goat
Beatrice's goat
McBrier, Page.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [2001]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 25 x 26 cm
A young girl's dream of attending school in her small Ugandan village is fulfilled after her family is given an income-producing goat. Based on a true story about the work of Project Heifer.
General Note:
"An Anne Schwartz book."
Reading Level:
AD 640 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 0.5 46493.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.5 2 Quiz: 27869 Guided reading level: N.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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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.

Author Notes

Page McBrier is a freelance writer and the author of many books for children, including Confessions of a Reluctant Elf and a number of books in the Treehouse Times and the Oliver and Company series, among others. In addition to writing, she has led theater workshops and taught drama in elementary schools. Ms. McBrier currently serves on the board of an arts afterschool program for middle school children. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Rowayton, Connecticut.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. Beatrice lives in a small Ugandan village with her mother and five younger siblings. She yearns to go to school, but there's not enough money, and she must help her mother care for the house and children. But when an aid organization donates a goat to the family, Beatrice's life changes: the goat produces first kids and then milk, which nourishes the family and provides enough steady income to send Beatrice to school. Heifer Project International, an organization that provides livestock to poor families, sent the author and the illustrator to Beatrice's village, and the result is this attractive, fictionalized account. Although clearly propaganda for the program, the well-crafted text and richly colored realistic paintings, reminiscent of Brian Pinkney's work, bring alive the realities of daily life in an eastern African village and the enormous impact of small gifts. An afterword from Hillary Rodham Clinton gives the project another plug. Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

An impoverished family begins to flourish after receiving a special giftÄof the four-legged varietyÄin this uplifting picture book set in western Uganda. Beatrice longs to attend school with other village children, but instead she must tend her five younger siblings and help her mother in the fields. Everything starts to change, however, when Beatrice and her family receive a goat, "a lucky gift," says her mother, from a charitable organization. As the months pass, the animal provides the family with sweet milk to enjoy and sell and a pair of kids that will eventually be sold as well. With the goat's bounty, the family soon has enough money to send Beatrice to school. McBrier's tale, inspired by actual events, succeeds in demonstrating the positive ripple effect of the efforts of one organization, but an afterword by Hillary Rodham Clinton sounds like an advertisement for Heifer Project (the donors of the goat). Perhaps the volume's greatest strength is Lohstoeter's (How the Leopard Got His Spots) sunny acrylic paintings, which capture the hues of dusty thatched huts and verdant banana groves of the African landscape. Sweet-faced Beatrice and her mother take center stage, wearing colorful, traditional clothes, and their bond is palpable. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) FYI: Two percent of the publisher's proceeds will be donated to Little Rock, Ark.-based Heifer Project International, a nonprofit group working to end global hunger by providing livestock and training to people in need. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Beatrice lives in Uganda, where her family is struggling to survive. During the day, she helps her mother watch the five younger children, tend the chickens and the fields, and grind cassava flour for the market. She is not excited when her mother explains that a charitable organization has given them a goat, which will be Beatrice's responsibility. She calls the "lucky gift" Mugisa, and, indeed, the animal turns out to be a wonderful boon for the family. Other villages seek her milk and are able to pay for it. The sale of the milk allows Beatrice's mother to purchase books and a uniform to send her daughter to school. Mugisa gives birth to two kids, one of which is sold to help pay for a new house. Although the writing style is stilted in places, the authenticity of the story comes through. Lohstoeter's wonderfully engaging acrylic illustrations go a long way toward enlivening the text. The afterword by Hillary Rodham Clinton explains that the story is based on the experiences of a real Ugandan child whose life changed because of the efforts of the humanitarian efforts of The Heifer Project International. Teachers and librarians may want to use this attractive picture book as a jumping-off point for discussion of world cultures.-Barbara Buckley, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.