Bedding Down: The SheepOver (Sweet Pea and Friends) by John and Jennifer Churchman
IT WAS WAY PAST BEDTIME, AND LADDIE THE SHEEP DOG WAS STILL AWAKE....
A good sheep dog sleeps lightly, and Laddie senses that something is amiss among the stalls. It's time to wake up Farmer John.
As Owl calls and Red Fox steals past the barn on silent feet, Farmer John follows his sheep dog to where the orphan lamb Sweet Pea is curled up in the hay.
SWEET PEA'S NOSE WAS HOT AND PINK.
SHE COULDN'T STAND UP BY HERSELF.
Sadie the pony and Prem, Sunny, and Violet, the grown-up sheep watch as Farmer John gently picks up Sweet Pea and carries her up to the greenhouse on the hill. The rooster Buff Orpington crows her name and Keeper the goose honks out...
"WHAT'S WRONG WITH SWEET PEA?
But Farmer John knows what to do. He calls up Vet Allison and soothes little Sweet Pea, promising that when she is well, he will let her have a sheep sleepover with all her friends in the greenhouse.
The country vet quickly diagnoses an infected cut which is causing ther fever, and Laddie and Prem stay with Sweet Pea as she begins to recover.
And sure enough, Sweet Pea is soon frolicking again with Sunny and Violet, and when everyone has been invited, the big SheepOver is a success, with disco dancing and treats for all the animals.
IT WAS THE BEST SHEEPOVER EVER!
John and Jennifer Churchman's runaway hit, The SheepOver (Sweet Pea & Friends) (Little, Brown and Company, 2015) is an appealing story of the softer side of farm life. But the illustrations are the standout, combining actual photos of the Churchmans' animals enhanced with artwork which retains the look of real animals within a muted palette which intensifies their expressions, as the nighttime rural scenery and spatter-painted backgrounds reinforce the gentle warmth of the story. This is one lamb that preschoolers and young primary readers will want to invite to their own sleepovers.