cover image Lena’s Sleep Sheep: 
A Going-to-Bed Book

Lena’s Sleep Sheep: A Going-to-Bed Book

Anita Lobel. Knopf, $11.99 (24p) ISBN 978-0-449-81025-5

After Lena’s parents tuck her into bed, a conventional scenario gives way to a humorous fantasy. Needing help to fall asleep, she bids her “woolly friends” to come out. “I’m ready to count you now,” says the curly-haired girl. But the sheep are frightened by the “round monster in the window” (the full moon, pictured making a grotesque face) and hide under Lena’s bed. At her suggestion, they dress up in costumes so the moon “will not know you are sheep.” This creates a new conundrum: they are so “clumsy in their costumes” that they can’t line up to be counted—until Lena finds a solution that helps her finally get to sleep. Her earnest, tactical conversation with the sheep takes some amusing turns; when they lament that the moon “looks hungry and ready for a sheep snack,” she says, “He’s not hungry. He’s already full.” Lobel’s (Nini Lost and Found) gouache and watercolor art adds to the story’s offbeat humor; the sheep’s vivid disguises include cat masks, tutus, sailor outfits, and more. An inventive and slightly raucous bedtime tale. Ages 2–5. (Aug.)