WHERE IS THE GREEN SHEEP?

Mem Fox, Author, Judy Horacek, Author , illus. by Judy Horacek. Harcourt $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-15-204907-2

The hunt is on for a sheep that's green all over. But before its undisclosed location is revealed, Fox and first-time picture book illustrator Horacek (previously teamed with Fox for the resource book Reading Magic ) introduce children to a host of other whimsical woolly ones, all of which are described in pithy, vocabulary-building terms. "Here is the near sheep./ And here is the far sheep," writes Fox, as Horacek goes in for an extreme close-up on the former and takes a panoramic view of the latter. "Here is the moon sheep./ And here is the star sheep," explains the spread that follows, which finds two sheep staking claim on heavenly bodies. Turning the page, the audience will find all manner of sheep out for a day in the park—save one. "But where is the green sheep?" asks the text (the question serves as the book's refrain). The answer finally appears on the last page, where the distinctly lime-green sheep is found snoozing in a meadow. Youngsters won't mind taking a circuitous route to the payoff, however: Horacek's wryly stylized non-green sheep, whose coats look like a hive of curlicues, are utterly endearing in their happy-go-lucky ways—whether they're splashing in a bubble bath or schussing down a slide. Parents intrigued by Fox's ideas about early literacy (as expounded in Reading Magic , for example) will find this book a useful vehicle for putting her suggestions into practice. Ages 6 mos.-5 yrs. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/08/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
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