Sunday, May 01, 2011

Count on Sheep? Can't Sleep without Sheep by Susanna Leonard Hill

Ava is not one of those kids whose daily busy-ness leaves them ready to fall asleep when her head hits the pillow. Ava is the other kind--the kind of kid whose mind is always busy, never ready for bed.

Mom is out of ideas and falls back on the old saw suggesting that her insomniac daughter try counting sheep. So Ava does--until the countable sheep union calls a job action.

"Can we please stop?" "We're exhausted!"

"No!" said Ava. "I need you to keep jumping!" said Ava.

"In that case," said the sheep, "we QUIT!"

"You can't quit!" said Ava. "How will I ever get to sleep?"

"Don't worry. We'll find a replacement," the sheep promised.

But the sheep's breezy promise turns out to be as flimsy as fleece. A horse reports for duty, but he's so gorgeous jumping that Ava stays awake for hours making up complex fences for him to jump. Chickens come for a tryout, but chickens are short on qualifications for fence jumping. The dumb clucks are FIRED! Pigs audition, but spend most of their on-the-job time snacking, with only an occasional lumber over the fence. And cows? Well, imagine jumping a fence with an udder.

The sheep keep trying, with moose, giraffes, walruses, penguins, even buffalo trying out, with disastrous results for the fence--and for AVA.

"Stop! I'll never get to sleep like this!"

Somehow, Ava has to stroke those reluctant sheep's egos enough to get them back on the job!

Susanna Hill's Can't Sleep Without Sheep (Walker and Company, 2010) takes a bedtime walk on the wild side, with help from artist Mike Wohynoutka, whose ebullient cartoon characters soar and flop and waddle and bumble across his cinematographic double-page spreads in a unique look at bedtime rituals. As School Library Journal says, "A book that is delightful for the eyes and soothing to the ears, Can't Sleep Without Sheep will quickly become a bedtime favorite and a can't-sleep-without book."

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  • Thank you for your lovely review. I can't tell you how much it means to me that someone so well-read in the children's book world had such nice things to say about my story and Mike's amazing art. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

    By Blogger Susanna Leonard Hill, at 5:41 AM  

  • Thank you! No one appreciates authors and illustrators more than the people who work with children's literature!

    By Blogger GTC, at 9:33 AM  

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