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When Sheep Cannot Sleep


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About the Author

Satoshi Kitamura is the prize-winning author and illustrator of many books for children, including Me and My Cat? and, most recently, Comic Adventures of Boots. He lives in London, England.


In one of the more subtle counting books around, Woolly, a sheep, can't sleep and so he goes for a walk. He chases a butterfly, sees two ladybugs, and ``some owls'' (three in the picture) call to him. Readers have to count the four bats, five apples, six squirrels and seven ladder rungs. Woolly finds a house where he starts drawing pictures, which he hangs on walls, has a dinner of peas, looks at the (20) stars, and goes to bed in striped pajamas. He starts thinking about his (21) relatives (all sheep, of course) and drifts off to sleep. An index at the back provides a complete list of the items to be counted. Kitamura takes full artistic license with the logistics of the plotWoolly beds down for the night in a conveniently empty mansionbut his counting is impeccable. An off-white sheep set against deep-toned watercolors, Woolly is an truly endearing insomniac. (3-6)

PreS-Gr 2 Woolly, 1 sheep, has insomnia, and so he goes to the meadow where he finds 2 ladybugs, 3 owls, 4 bats, etc.all the way up to 22 ``z's'' when he finally nods off in an unoccupied house that he has discovered. The droll watercolor illustrations contain the items to be counted, but they are not enumerated in the text, and so it is a game to find and count them. An index at the end of the book lists the numbers and the items. This playful work is simpler than Anno's Counting Book (Crowell, 1977), which is more visually sophisticated and it is as irresistible as Lisa Campbell Ernst's Up to Ten and Down Again (Lothrop, 1986). Like Kitamura's What's Inside: the Alphabet Book (Farrar, 1985), this presents an engaging and fresh approach that young readers will enjoy on their own. Lorraine Douglas, Winnipeg Public Library, Manitoba, Canada

"A clever counting book. . .[featuring] an insomniac sheep named Woolly...The squared-off sheep has an endearingly goofy look that kids and adults will love. The pictures are offbeat and funny, making this just fine for those who want to put their counting skills to use and enjoy a guessing game along the way." --Booklist

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