Lori Lohstoeter (illus.)
New York: Antheneum / Simon and Schuster / Anne Schwartz, 2001. $16.00,
Note: 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.
Beatrice's Goat is the result of the Heifer Project director's request for Page McBrier and Lori Lohstoeter to create a children's book. In order for the author and illustrator to comprehend the linkages between rural Perry, Arkansas and Kisinga, Uganda, they traveled to Uganda to document the true story of Beatrice and the Heifer Project goat. This reviewer is familiar with Heifer Project and has observed the impact of the Project's activities in African countries. Beatrice's goat, Mugisa, has brought many new things to the family. The story describes how the sale of Mugisa's milk and two kids financed a new house, roof, furniture, and schooling for Beatrice. The steady income from the goat enables the family to buy medicines, clothing, and needed supplies. Soon Beatrice's friend will also have a goat. This book contains several unique strengths which other picture book do not have. One strength is the fact that both the author and the illustrator visited the family and created this story on location together with the approval of the family. Many books about Africa are written from the youthful memories of Africans or visitors. In addition, most illustrators have little knowledge of the actual African location which results in stylized illustrations. This collaborative approach with a real family has a strong influence on U.S. readers. Secondly, the book illustrates positive results of a non-profit organization. So much news from Uganda is negative, it is important for readers to learn that Ugandans are working to improve their lives. Moreover, the publisher contributes a portion of the sales back to Heifer Project to support projects. Thirdly, the book focuses on children such as the importance of girls schooling and responsibilities and not on what adults do to or for children. This reviewer would have liked a map showing Uganda and Arkansas. Nevertheless, this book is highly recommended.
Copyright © 2001 by Africa Access, all rights reserved. Africa Access permits the redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and Africa Access Review. For any other proposed use, contact AfricaAccess@aol.com
Reviewed by: Patricia Kuntz, Madison, Wisconsin / Review copy received
Subject: Fiction/ Goats/ Uganda/ Animals / Africa, East / CABA Honor