From School Library Journal
Grade 1–5—After their teacher reads them Page McBrier's Beatrice's Goat
(S & S, 2001), a book about an impoverished Ugandan girl and how her life is improved by a special gift, a fifth-grade class is determined to collaborate on a fundraising project for the charitable organization that donated the animal. Schrock, daughter of the founder of Heifer International, uses an unnamed student as her narrator to describe the kids' efforts to raise money by selling healthy snacks. Readers will quickly identify with the classroom setting and dynamics and appreciate the author's direct approach in outlining the events. The original spark of inspiration, the planning process, the endeavor's success, the mathematics of running a business, and background information on Heifer International are seamlessly integrated into the text. Darragh's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations match the upbeat tone of the narrative, support the facts being shared, and provide touches of humor. Though Schrock focuses on raising funds for a specific organization, the story ends with other classes reaching out to the local food pantry and the Red Cross. The message of community service is what children will ultimately remember and hopefully be inspired to emulate: "I think everyone learned that giving—and passing on the gift—feels really good." A first choice.—Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA
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Page McBrier’s Beatrice’s Goat (2001) introduced the work of Heifer International in a picture-book story about a girl whose family is changed by the gift of a goat. Illustrated in whimsical ink-and-watercolor artwork, this message-driven title by the daughter of the organization’s founder shows kids how to get involved in Heifer’s mission. After a teacher reads Beatrice’s Goat to her fifth-grade class, her students work together to buy a goat for a needy family through Heifer’s program. With an initial loan from their teacher, they prepare and sell healthy snacks, eventually earning more than enough to buy the animal, educating their school about Heifer’s work in the process. The story, which includes interesting details of project management, is a clear advertisement for both Heifer and the rewards of community service. Still, teachers seeking portrayals of kids cooperating to make a difference, both in their communities and beyond, will find this book a welcome resource. Grades 1-3. --Gillian Engberg
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