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Pete the Sheep
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In Pete the Sheep we see the reuniting of the award-winning and adored combination of Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, this time turning their attention to sheep rather than wombats. Shaun the shearer (get it?) is a bit different from the other shearers; instead of a sheepdog he has a ‘sheep-sheep’, Pete, who, in echoes of Babe, talks very polite ‘sheep’ to the other sheep. The mutual language combined with Shaun’s designer shearing technique makes the pair very popular with the sheep and very unpopular with the other shearers with an unpredictable but amusing result. This book will, I imagine, be flogged to booksellers and to their customers as a sort of sequel to the wonderful Diary of a Wombat and while it’s a delightful book, it’s no Wombat. One of the most effective elements in Wombat was the sparsity of the text, allowing Whatley’s eloquent illustrations to carry the story. It’s the freshness of his style and the focus on his drawings that make me laugh out loud whenever I read it. Pete the Sheep is a much more text-heavy effort, suitable for slightly older children. Whatley’s illustrations are still terrific and the storyline fresh and amusing, but this book isn’t what I imagine the marketing will be promising. Eliza Metcalfe is AB&P’s editorial coordinator. C. 2004 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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