One Smart Sheep

Gary D. Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney, illus. by Jane Manning. Clarion, $17.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-54488835-7
In this beginning chapter book authored by previous collaborators (A Long Road on a Short Day) Schimdt and his late wife Stickney, a sheep named Wilson makes an unexpected journey via delivery truck. It takes Wilson’s resourceful owner Abigail Atwood, a border collie named Tippy, and a crusty, loud machine–loving neighbor named Jeremiah Jefferson to restore Wilson to his place on Abigail’s farm. The narration proceeds in real time, describing Wilson’s remarkably friendly personality—he always trots over for a pat—and developing a subplot of crabby exchanges between Abigail and Jeremiah (“I suppose he’d look handsome to some,” Jeremiah says grudgingly when asked to admire Wilson). Affectionate passages recall Wilson’s idyllic babyhood in Abigail and Tippy’s cabin; it’s an interest in finding the “warm and comfortable” that leads Wilson into a piano delivery truck, setting off further gambols. Rhythmic narration often comes in threes, as when Wilson discovers his error: “No Tippy. No Abigail. No woodstove, either.” Manning (Jumping Off Library Shelves) contributes green, misty watercolors, with pink-skinned characters whose friendly, expressive faces befit this pure-hearted comedy. The creators celebrate the quirky dilemmas of rural life in a way that radiates affection for animals and their owners. Ages 8–12. Authors’ agent: Rick Margolis, Rising Bear Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/12/2021
Release date: 10/26/2021
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-0-358-63962-6
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