cover image The 108th Sheep

The 108th Sheep

Ayano Imai, . . Tiger Tales, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-58925-063-5

This book's hefty format (12"x12") seems to work against the small, quiet story within its covers. Emma, a dark-haired, rosy-cheeked girl, stars in pictures framed with a wine-colored outline and wide border. She decides to count sheep in order to fall asleep one wakeful night, and newcomer Imai depicts the animals high-jumping over the heroine's headboard. The creatures, whose numbers appear on their fleece like football jerseys, burst through the pictures' frames and onto the opposite side of the spread. Emma makes it to 107, then hears a "thud." Sheep 108 is too small to clear her headboard, and various schemes to help him make the vault fail. " 'This is a big problem,' said the 109th sheep, pushing forward. 'If 108 doesn't jump over your bed, Emma, then none of us can get any sleep.' " At last resourceful Emma finds a solution. Most of the book's creative energy is visual, as the animals behave in endearingly un-sheep-like ways. Despite all the activity, Imai maintains a sleepytime atmosphere with lots of soft, smoky shading and a peaceful gray-cream-pink color scheme. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)