Brookie and Her Lamb

Image of Brookie and Her Lamb
Release Date: 
March 2, 2021
NYR Children's Collection
Reviewed by: 

“pen and ink artwork at its finest with storytelling to match.”

Brookie and Her Lamb, by bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator, M. B. Goffstein, is a poetic, non-rhyming classic, reissued in 2021 by New York Review Books. It doesn’t seem possible the first publication debuted over 50 years ago, because young Brookie and her lamb seem as ageless as singing songs and picking flowers.

We first meet Brookie and her lamb on the book’s cover, in a happy embrace. And therein lies the deepest truth in this story, love. 

Brookie sees the proverbial glass as half full whether attempting to teach her lamb how to sing, to read, or to pick flowers. “Baa baa baa,” is obviously the lamb’s answer to everything. Brookie is never annoyed or disheartened by the lamb’s response. She simply accepts. Yep, it’s love to the nth degree. 

The watchful eye will begin to notice how Ms Goffstein does not use shadowing or cross-hatching to “paint” her story. Rather, her artistic interpretation relies on the curves, turns, and straightaways of a simple black line. This is pen and ink artwork at its finest with storytelling to match.

Yes, the text is sparse, and yes it is a quick read, if read with the sole intent to finish. But this little book calls for lingering, perusing, and rereading! And ultimately, pondering the question of just how Ms. Goffstein could impart so much emotion using such simple lines!

The book’s small size makes it perfectly portable, easy to tuck in a daypack, satchel, or lunchbox for on-the-go read-alouds.

Brookie and Her Lamb longs to be shared in every nursery, every preschool, and on every lap. It turns down the volume on our way too busy lives. Come, let’s rest a while because Brookie and her lamb’s universe seems like a wondrous place to hang out.

Brooke, in case there was any question, was the author’s first name.

Keep an eye out for Goffstein’s Fish for Supper (Caldecott Honor 1976, Dial Press), a simultaneous reissue from New York Review Books.