cover image Sheep Count Flowers

Sheep Count Flowers

Micaela Chirif, trans. from the Spanish by Arthur A. Levine, illus. by Amanda Mijangos. Levine Querido, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-64614-119-7

Argentinian writer Chirif brings a poet’s perception to this consideration of sheep—specifically, their bedtimes. They can’t count themselves, it seems, so “sheep count flowers to fall asleep:/ one sunflower,/ two roses,/ three geraniums,/ four jasmines.” Mijangos (The Sea-Ringed World) works in ghostly, stencil-like images, by turns sprightly and haunting, overlaid with stroked swaths of paint and dotted with small, closely worked ink motifs—ants, stars, fish. Sheep and children share the spreads. “When sheep have nightmares, they get away from the wolf at the very last moment,” Chirif writes. Mijangos draws two dark-haired, light-skinned children menaced by a wolf with a long snout. In the next spreads, they escape by running across the wolf’s great body, and one rides it into the sky like a horse. The fragmentary thoughts are like dreams themselves, and their sparkling boldness will draw those who long to wander the wilds of consciousness. Ages 4–7. (Oct.)