cover image The Great Sheep Shenanigans

The Great Sheep Shenanigans

Peter Bently, illus. by Mei Matsuoka. Andersen Press USA (Lerner, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7613-8990-3

A tough-guy sheep known as Rambo the Ram, a cotton-candy machine, and Red Riding Hood’s grandmother all play their parts in a rambunctious story from the team behind The Great Dog Bottom Swap, about a wolf’s attempts to procure sheep’s clothing. The ample humor in Bently’s mellifluous yet entertaining rhymes runs the gamut from highbrow (the wolf’s name is Lou Pine) to lowbrow (he winds up in a “big pile of poo”). The verse is often slyly witty, as when the wolf dreams of the lamb dishes that await him: “...chops and mint sauce? Or even lamb stew? Or burgers? Moussaka? Or lamb vindaloo?” Matsuoka’s illustrations supply plenty of comedy, too, from the boxing gloves that Rambo wears to the water gun that a neighbor (“the best shot in town”) uses to blast Lou when he tries to steal her fluffy gown for a disguise. Lou is thwarted again and again, and even after he forces Red Riding Hood’s grandmother to knit him a sweater, she finds a way to get the last laugh. Lou Pine’s ineptitude gives Wile E. Coyote a run for his money. Ages 4–9. (Apr.)