Synopses & Reviews
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.
"An impoverished family begins to flourish after receiving a special gift of the four-legged variety in 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. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Beatrice, a girl who lives in a small African village, dreams of going to school, but her family is too poor. Then her family receives a wonderful gift from a charitable organization that makes it possible for Beatrice to attend school. Full color.
About the Author
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.