Baabwaa & Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship

David Elliott, illus. by Melissa Sweet. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6074-1
Baabwaa and Wooliam are two sedate sheep who enjoy knitting and reading. “Sounds kind of boring,” writes Elliott (The Two Tims). “But they like it.” Their attempt to inject adventure into their lives gets off to a slow start (“Is this what adventures are like?” asks Baabwaa. “All this walking, I mean”) but picks up when they are confronted by a wolf who is (poorly) disguised as a sheep. A frantic chase ensues, it’s revealed that the wolf can’t read, and an unlikely friendship is born: Wooliam teaches the wolf to read, and Baabwaa knits him a new woolly coat, as his current one is a “disgrace.” Elliott’s droll sense of humor generates lots of laughs—“It says here I’m cruel and sneaky!” complains the wolf after learning how to read. “And your point?” responds Wooliam—which Sweet (Some Writer!) capitalizes on in mixed-media scenes that embody the simultaneous dopiness and intrepidness of the sheep, as well as the wolf’s mix of menace and vulnerability. An off-kilter adventure with charm to spare. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/17/2017
Release date: 09/12/2017
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