The Goat Lady

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A family moves into their new home. All the houses in the neighborhood except for one have new paint and well-kept lawns. One old farmhouse sticks out with peeling paint, rickety old fences, rusty barrels lying about, and lots of frisky farm animals. Neighbors living nearby in their modern houses do not approve. The goose chases a jogger, the rooster crows day and night, and the goats hop over the fence to eat newly planted trees. Something has to be done about this neighbor with all the goats and farm animals! One cold October morning, two young children brave the honking goose and meet the Goat Lady, Noelie Lemire Houle. Miss Houle welcomes them into her life teaching them about farm animals, friendship and a different way of living. The children introduce the Goat Lady to their mother, an artist. By painting Miss Houle's picture and her daily activities, the neighbors and community gradually come to learn about and appreciate the Goat Lady. They discover how she donates young goats, "kids," to the Heifer Project, an International nonprofit organization. The Heifer Project has helped over 5 million families in 125 countries escape hunger, become more self-sufficient and become environmental aware. Two children help the Goat Lady teach her neighbors and community about the giving, courage and kindness. 2004, Tilbury House Publishers, Ages 8 to 11.
—Lisa P. Hill
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-An elderly French Canadian named Noelie often drew criticism from the Dartmouth, MA, townsfolk because she kept a herd of white goats in her yard. Neighbors complained that the animals were noisy and unruly and that the house was unkempt. The author and her children befriended the old woman and found that she was gentle and kind. When Bregoli's daughter asked her to paint a picture of the Goat Lady, the artist painted a series of portraits and eventually exhibited them in a local art museum. The paintings helped others in the community to look past Noelie's mismatched clothes and odd ways and recognize her humble goodness. This gentle, straightforward narrative is told from the point of view of one of the children and is ideal for reading aloud. The book is illustrated with sharp color reproductions of Bregoli's original portraits done in a soft painterly style. A true story about intergenerational relationships and tolerance that's perfect for sharing.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780884482604
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.42 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Beautifully Illustrated, Well-written

    I enjoyed reading this story. The illustrations were simply gorgeous.
    Sometimes it only takes one person to accept someone that seems different, and pretty soon other people come around. That's what I learned from this story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2005

    This is the BEST book for young children!!!

    I read this book to see if it would be suitable for my children, and I was most pleasantly surprised! We live on a farm and raise goats, and this is a wonderful way to introduce children to a farming lifestyle, and to celebrate the farming lifestyle for those who choose this living. This book is sensitive, beautifully illustrated and teaches children about tolerance, not only of people who might be different, but also of the elderly. I loved the message that everyone is needed and useful, in their own way. I treasure this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 18, 2010

    heartwarming story

    Have you ever drunk goat's milk? Noelie Lemire Houle is an elderly lady who lives on a rundown farm on Lucy Little Rd. in Dartmouth, MA. In spite of the fact that most of the homes in the neighborhood are new, freshly painted, and with neatly mowed lawns, Noelie's yard has a big gray goose, several chickens, and a whole herd of goats. When author Jane Bregoli with her son and daughter move to Dartmouth, the children become friends with Noelie and begin to assist with the goats, learning how to water, feed, and even milk them. They hear all about Noelie's history and the benefits of drinking goat's milk. She is known as "The Goat Lady." However, many of the neighbors don't like what they consider an eyesore and a nuisance. Can anything be done to help make peace?
    The Goat Lady, which won the ASPCA Henry Bergh Children's Book Award for Humane Heroes, is a true story. Noelie Lemire Houle was born in 1899 on a small farm in Quebec, Canada. She and her sister moved to the United States in 1919 to work in a Massachusetts corset factory. After she married Almador Houle, the couple moved to his parents' farm in Dartmouth. Following Almador's death, Noelie remained on the farm with her goats. For many years she has provided goat's milk for people who need it and has sent extra goat kids to needy people in poor countries through Heifer International. The Bregoli children asked their mother, who is also an artist, to paint a portrait of Noelie and her goats. In fact, Jane did several pictures, and they grace the pages of the book. It is a genuinely heartwarming account of intergenerational friendship, telling about the life of a lady who exemplified great kindness and courage.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This lady will get your goat, but in a good way

    Teaching a child to have compassion is important. Jane Bregoli's "The Goat Lady" is a true story that shows how love can bring an elderly outcast back into the folds of society. When Jessica and David move to Dartmouth, Mass., they bring with them acceptance and understanding. They do not ridicule Noelie, who dresses funny and lets goats inside her house. Instead, they get to know her for who she truly is. By looking past her exterior appearance, they get to experience her generous, caring heart.

    Jessica and David also share Noelie's true personality with others. Their mother (Bregoli) begins to capture Noelie's essence with her paintbrush - the impetus behind the book's creation. "The Goat Lady's" endearing portraits are intensely moving. They depict Noelie's quirkiness - one sock on, one sock off, her frugality - twine as a belt, and her gentleness - with a baby goat on her lap. For the town, the paintings provide a window into her life. With a new insight into their most-talked-about resident, the community embraces Noelie. She is asked to lead the Fourth of July parade and receives an award for providing the town with fresh goat's milk. Thanks to the interest of two children, she no longer lives in isolation.

    What makes this story special is that it actually happened. It is not a packaged narrative with a simplistic moral tone. Instead, legitimate concerns, regarding hygiene and mental competency, are subjects that are mentioned, if only in passing. People may shy away from those who are eccentric, but usually not without reason. Noelie lives in a ramshackle, old farmhouse in desperate need of repair. Her poverty as well as her age are additional factors working against her in the realm of public opinion. The story does not gloss over the root causes behind these embedded perceptions.

    Today, many forms of children's entertainment feature the antics of wise-cracking, know-it-all characters. It is refreshing to encounter a story that is so grounded in reality. It shows how a child has the power to make a difference in the life of an adult. Children are not powerless beings adrift in a world beyond their control. They have a voice, and when they use it, can effect change where it is most needed. Their influence is not to be underestimated.

    Overall, this lady will get your goat, but in a good way.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Ever had a neighbor that seems a bit unusual and different? Meet the Goat Lady!

    Two children and their mother, new to the neighborhood, befriend Noelie Houle, an elderly lady who raises goats. Her other neighbors bemoan the "Goat Lady's" rundown house and barnyard animals, but the children see how she cares for her goats, they hear her stories, and they come to love her.

    For many years Noelie has provided goat's milk for people who need it and has sent her extra goat kids to poor people in poor countries through Heifer International. The children's mother paints a series of portraits of the "Goat Lady," and her art show at the local town hall helps the rest of the community see Noelie's kindness and courage.

    In this wonderful children's book, The Goat Lady by Jane Bregoli, children will learn that what they see on the outside isn't always what is going on inside. Looks can be deceiving much like judging a book by it's cover. The children come to learn about the wonderful old lady as well as the whole town and soon things that bothered people in the beginning didn't bother them as much any longer.

    I received this book compliments of Tilbury House Publishers for my honest review and have to say, I loved this heartwarming tale of the Goat Lady and why she does the things she does. It's an important reminder that it isn't so much what you have in this world that makes you important as what you do with what you have instead. I rate this story a 5 out of 5 stars and can see this becoming a wonderful classic children's story.

    What a great book for parents, grandparents and church youth groups and day care centers. We need more books like this one that teach a lesson as well as entertaining our kids!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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