Review of Brookie and Her Lamb AND Fish for Supper

Brookie and Her Lamb
by M. B. Goffstein; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary   NYRB    32 pp.    g
3/21    978-1-68137-545-8    $16.95

Fish for Supper
by M. B. Goffstein; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    NYRB    32 pp.    g
3/21    978-1-68137-546-5    $16.95

Two spare, barely there picture books by minimalist author-illustrator Goffstein epitomize her trademark approach: a simplicity of text (a sentence, or sentence fragment, per small page) and art (sketch-like black-and-white line drawings) matched with quiet emotional resonance. Brookie (first published in 1967) elucidates the devoted relationship between a girl and her “baa”ing lamb; Fish (a 1977 Caldecott Honor Book) follows a solitary woman, “my grandmother,” as she rises early to go fishing, returns in time to make supper, and goes to bed early in order to repeat the process. Goffstein’s work was outside the mainstream even in her day; it’s hard to imagine what contemporary children will make of it. Still, the books’ palate-cleansing qualities may be welcome.

From the January/February 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is a contributing editor to The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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