Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Beatrice’s Goat

McBrier, Page (Author)
Lohstoeter, Lori (Illustrator)
Simon & Schuster 2004. 40 pages
First published: 2001
ISBN: 9780689869907 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, characterization, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

More than anything, Beatrice wishes she could attend school. But her family is poor. Her days are taken up helping her mother hoe and plant the fields, tend the chickens, babysit her siblings and grind the cassava flour they sell at the local market. When Mugisa, an income-generating goat, comes into their lives, Beatrice’s future brightens. This is the true story of a nine-year-old Ugandan girl whose family is helped by the Heifer Project, a non-profit organization working to end global hunger by providing livestock and training to people in need.

The text, uplifting, poetic and filled with beautiful images, is well suited for read-aloud. The goat arrives in the village “fat and sleek as a ripe mango.” Her “chin hairs curl just so” as she “butts her knobby horns against Beatrice’s hand – tup, tup – like a drumbeat waiting for a song.” Meanwhile, school kids set “their long wooden benches outside . . . under the cool shade of the jackfruit trees.”

Lush, full-page paintings evoke the realities of everyday life in a small Ugandan village as well as the protagonist’s deep yearning to go to school.

An afterword by Hilary Rodham Clinton reminds readers that with support, families anywhere in the world can improve their lives.

  •  Do a picture walk. Compare the setting of the story to the community you live in. What role might the setting play in this story?
  •  

    Use a graphic organizer to show the impact of the goat on the lives of Beatrice and her family. Include details from the text and make inferences about other effects that receiving the goat may have had.

  •  

    Find out what happened to Beatrice after this story ends. Explore a teacher-selected resource on Beatrice Biira, the girl featured in this true story.

  •  

    Explore how Beatrice’s family received the gift of the goat. How could your class make a positive impact on an impoverished family or community? Work together on a humanitarian project inspired by this story.

  •  

    Examine the front and back covers. Make predictions about Beatrice and her goat’s roles in the story. Discuss the setting and find it on a map.

  •  

    Create a character map for Beatrice. Include her qualities, wants and needs.

  •  

    Compare and contrast Beatrice’s role in her family with the role you play in your family.

  •  

    Discuss and list the ways Beatrice and her mother think about spending money. How is the idea of spending money similar or different for you?

  •  

    Record the story and listen to the recording as many times as needed, following along with the text. Stop after each page to verify comprehension.

  •  

    Answer discussion questions in small teams. For example, describe Beatrice and her family. How is she different from you? How is her life different from yours? What is the impact of the goat in their lives? What happens to them at the end? 

  •  

    Pretend you are Beatrice. Write a letter to a humanitarian organization asking for funds for a different village. Outline the villagers' needs and explain the impact you hope to make.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To solve problems
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Personal Development
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Sciences