________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 4 . . . .October 14, 2005

cover

The Goat Lady.

Jane Bregoli.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2005.
32 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-55041-942-0.

Subject Headings:
Houle, Noelie Lemire, b. 1899-Juvenile literature.
Goat farmers-Massachusetts-Dartmouth-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Goats-Juvenile literature.
Dartmouth (Mass.)-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

**** /4

   

 

Spectacular paintings combine with a well written emotional text to deliver a lovely book. Told from a young neighbor's point of view, the story focuses on Noelie, an elderly lady who is completely devoted to her goats. On reading the first few pages, one might question that this topic could make such a winning story, but the reader's patience will be rewarded.

From the day we moved into our new home, we were fascinated by a nearby farmhouse. Most of the homes in our neighborhood were new, freshly painted, with neatly mowed lawns, but the old farmhouse on the corner of Lucy Little Road was different from the others. That house's paint was peeling, its doors hung crookedly from their hinges, and the yard was full of white goats. We liked to watch the frisky baby goats.

     The adult neighbors are not pleased with Noelie's unkempt property and the large numbers of goats, which they see as a "public nuisance." But Noelie, with "twinkling eyes and the warm smile between her rosy cheeks," wins the heart of two little girls who spend many days with Noelie as she feeds and cares for her goats. "The goats are my kids," she tells them. She also reads to the little girls, tells them stories of her youth, her coming to Canada, and explains her reasons for raising goats and her close relationship with them and especially the importance of the goats' nourishing milk. Her kindness and caring wins over the little girls' mother as well, and she proceeds to paint Noelie and her goats. Bregoli's amazing paintings result in an art show attended by many who were involved in Noelie's life, and, in turn, the show leads to others in Noelie's community to look beyond her strange clothing and ways and appreciate her virtue while becoming more accepting of her life style.

internal art     The impressionistic paintings are truly of art gallery quality and reflect Noelie's inner beauty and spirit. Noelie may be a "humble, simple and plain" woman, but this engaging picture book, with its intricate and expressive art work, is anything but! Entertaining and heartwarming, this is a story that teaches acceptance and tolerance and should be shared with many children. What a pity that this book is just in paperback, rather than hardcover.

     The impressionistic paintings are truly of art gallery quality and reflect Noelie's inner beauty and spirit. Noelie may be a "humble, simple and plain" woman, but this engaging picture book, with its intricate and expressive art work, is anything but! Entertaining and heartwarming, this is a story that teaches acceptance and tolerance and should be shared with many children. What a pity that this book is just in paperback, rather than hardcover.

     This book is the International Reading Association (2005) Teacher's Choice Award.

Highly Recommended.

Reesa Cohen is an Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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