Sheep 101

Richard T. Morris, illus. by LeUyen Pham. Little, Brown, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-316-21359-2

This isn’t an introductory course in animal husbandry, but rather a clever spin on the soporific mental exercise of counting sheep. A tucked-in, wide-awake boy is seen on the opening endpapers; he serves as an unseen narrator and sheep counter, and sharp-eyed readers will note that the other characters are items found in his bedroom. Morris (This Is a Moose) and Pham (Fallingwater) basically bypass the first 100 sheep, but chaos ensues when the 101st sheep gets stuck in the fence. “Do you see that we have a sheep down?” barks the take-charge Sheep 102 to the narrator. Since sheep are apparently in limited supply, nursery rhyme characters arrive as backup (“I usually jump over the moon, so this fence thing should be a breeze,” says a confident cow), and sleep is finally achieved after Sheep 102 summons a toy helicopter full of Lego-style figurines. Sure, it may be a bit too boisterous for bedtime reading, but it’s practically guaranteed that readers will go giggling into that good night. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Alice Tasman, Jean V. Naggar Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Mar.) [/em]