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The Goat Lady

Last updated Monday, December 18, 2006

Author: Jane Bregoli
Date of Publication: 2004
ISBN: 088448260X
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2007

Synopsis: (From School Library Journal) 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.

Note to readers:
•  Be sure to read the authors note on the last page before you read to the children.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever seen a goat? Do you know anyone who has a goat? What do you know about goats?
•  Have you ever made judgments about people before you got to know them? Did your judgment change after you got to know them?
•  Whom do you spend the holidays with?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you ever been to a farm? Have you ever milked a cow or a goat?
•  What sorts of things do the neighbors complain about?
•  What do the children learn about goats from the goat lady?
•  Noelie says the goats are her kids. What are baby goats called?
•  This book is based on a true story. Who is telling this story? [Relate this question to the authors note at the back.]

Craft ideas:
•  Fold paper and make an illustrated book about one of your neighbors or someone you know.
•  Draw a portrait of someone with their pet and use construction paper to make a frame.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!