Review also includes:
Fish for Supper, 978-1681375465
The quality of these two modest books lives in their absolute daring. They were perhaps all too quiet for the many busy children’s books editors in London when they were first published in New York in the sixties and seventies but they were time-defying and it is good to find them now. In the first of them, Brookie adopts a lamb whom she loves very much. That is presumably reciprocated for they go around together with the lamb patiently allowing itself to be humanised although all it can say is Baa baa baa. In the second, a respectably independent grandmother gets up in the morning, has breakfast, spends the day fishing and then comes home and cooks the catch for supper. The leanness of the narrative is matched by the simplicity of the protagonists’ portrayals – unembellished outline drawings of the non-stories related by the words. You must watch and listen with a heightened sensibility to catch the moments brought to life by Goffstein’s observant personality. Just look at the jauntiness in ‘Brookie took the lamb for a walk’ faced by ‘and a little dog barked at them’ simply (and uniquely) there in silhouette. Hear the echo when, after breakfast, grandmother ‘cleans up the dishes, fast, fast, fast’ and then at the end of the day ‘fast, fast, she cleaned up the dishes and went to bed.’ You can live in these daft, rudimentary episodes more than in the elaborate verbosities that occupy so many picture books then and now.