Little Lamb, Have You Any Wool?

Isabel Minhós Martins, illus. by Yara Kono. Owlkids (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (28p) ISBN 978-1-92697-314-2
A boy receives a gentle nudge about sharing in a story first published in Spain. The nursery-rhyme lines of the title begin each request, as the boy asks a sheep for wool to keep him warm: “I should make a pair of mittens/ to tuck my hands into./ My fingers are as icy as/ little icicles.” Kono’s woodcutlike illustrations show a dreamy world in which sweaters, hats, yarn, and the sheep itself float through the speculative space of the boy’s mind, drifting across fields of an unwinterly pea-shoot green—there’s no anxiety about the cold in the artwork. His requests continue until the sheep responds in an almost martyrlike tone: “Little friend, if you’re that cold,/ I will let you take my wool.... Shear it all away, from my/ head to my toes.” The boy gets the hint: “Then I realized... I wanted to/ share them with you!/ So here is a sweater/ I have made for you.” The unrhymed verse is a bit chilly in its own right, but it has an incantatory quality that, along with the warm imagery, should draw younger readers. Ages 3–6. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/23/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
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