cover image Lambslide


Ann Patchett, illus. by Robin Preiss Glasser. HarperCollins, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-288338-4

The Farmer family’s lambs are extraordinarily adorable and remarkably self-centered: “Everything was about the lambs, as far as the lambs were concerned,” writes PEN/Faulkner Award-winning Patchett, making her children’s book debut. When young Nicolette Farmer announces her candidacy for class president and her mother predicts she’ll “win by a landslide,” the lambs naturally hear “lambslide” and rally support for this heretofore nonexistent recreational equipment. Shedding—for the most part—their woolly airhead ways, they canvass their farmyard constituency and take on tough questions (the chicken wants assurance that money won’t be diverted from chicken feed). With a crafty assist from the now victorious Nicolette, they win a landslide farmyard vote for the lambslide, which is created with blue plastic sheeting on a hill. Patchett makes an important point without belaboring it: in a democracy, never count anyone out. Watercolor-and-ink depictions of farm life by Glasser (the Fancy Nancy series) seem a little idyllic at first—one of the lambs even wears a flower crown—but the approach proves to be the ideal visual counterpoint to Patchett’s plainspoken prose. Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]