cover image Sheep Dreams

Sheep Dreams

Arthur A. Levine. Dial Books, $13.99 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1194-5

When auditions for the class musical come around, Liza Shetland yearns to play the lead, for she is a sheep with high hopes and divine dreams. Each night she falls asleep to visions of ``movie stars decked out in shiny costumes, glittering with jewels'' in her head, and theatrical tomes crowd her bookshelves. Liza, however, is terribly bashful (``Her dad always had to guess what she wanted for breakfast''), and audition day finds her shuffling into the line for non-speaking parts. Glamorous, gregarious Cashmere LaFondue wins the coveted role, but on opening night comes down with terminal stage fright and Liza saves the show with a song, ``a bleat that beat the band.'' Despite a few inconsistencies in the text (bold Cashmere's turning into a quivering coward), the story gambols with droll humor toward a rewarding conclusion which should bring out a spark in even the most sheepish. Lanfredi's artwork bursts with pizzazz, just as her (mostly) outgoing ovines abound with distinctive personality. Bright reds, pinks and yellows reflect the sunny naivete of this winning tale, a triumph of show biz over shy biz. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)