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Can't Sleep Without Sheep

Can't Sleep Without Sheep

5.0 7
by Susanna Leonard Hill, Mike Wohnoutka (Illustrator)

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Whenever Ava can't sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it's the sheep that are growing tired—until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava's fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for


Whenever Ava can't sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it's the sheep that are growing tired—until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava's fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for sheep might not be so easy after all.

With irresistibly adorable art, this delightful take on a familiar sleep tactic is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
When Ava has trouble sleeping at night, her mother suggests counting sheep. It certainly seems like a reasonable solution—to everyone but the sheep! Worn out by endless nightly fence leaps till the little girl finally settles down, they abdicate to other solutions. Leaping horses are so much fun to watch, they keep Ava awake all night. No, horses won't do. Chickens never make it over the fence, while cows knock the fence down. As for hippos, buffalo and flamingoes...less said. Sleepless youngsters should enjoy Ava's adventures, and her final solution to the problem—which Ava herself solves quite logically. Hill's bedtime story is a clever one, made workable by Mike Wohnoutka's sensibly humorous approach to the subjects of his bright acrylic illustrations. His sheep are full-bodied, fluffy, and eminently huggable; his buffalo are vast bulldozers fronted by tiny, squinty eyes; his trebuchet-building penguins are far too smart for their own good. In short, this is an amusing sort of bedtime read. It might even convince kids the wisdom of actually falling asleep. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
Kirkus Reviews
When Ava's busy mind won't let her fall asleep, her mother tells her to try counting sheep, marking the last moment of convention in Hill and Wohnoutka's refreshing bedtime story. Alas, as she counts sheep jumping over a fence, Ava's mind is so busy with "ideas and questions, thoughts of today, and plans for tomorrow" that the sheep themselves become exhausted and decide to quit, leaving Ava wondering how she will ever get to sleep. Being compassionate, if pooped, the sheep promise to find a replacement. A veritable menagerie of animals on following pages attempt to jump over the fence and send Ava into dreamland, but horses are too distracting, pigs too slow, chickens too ridiculous and "the cows were a complete disaster." The acrylic illustrations make the most of the foolishness, placing the animals in ever-more-ridiculous situations. After meeting failure with hippos, buffalo and others, Ava charms the sheep with her appreciation of their efforts, and they return to work. "You can count on us," they assure her, concluding a gently humorous book that families will undoubtedly come to count on as well. (Picture book. 3-5)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Like many children, Ava counts sheep when she can't fall asleep. But the youngster has a great number of thoughts in her mind and her sheep are exhausted, so they set out to find suitable replacements. However, the other animals just aren't as well equipped for inducing sleep. The horses are too beautiful, while the chickens are ridiculous and the pigs are rather slow and lazy. The other applicants, including penguins, flamingos, armadillos, and buffalo, don't fare too well either. The sheep conclude that they are the best ones for the job and tell Ava, "Don't worry. You can count on us!" The charming, rounded illustrations are set against the backdrop of a starry night with the characters bathed in the moonlight. On many spreads, the animals take up the entire space, creating a cinematic vista. Hill's words are simple and effective, and leave room for the art to tell the story. The endpapers feature a series of repeated, lovely and puffy cloudlike sheep in mid-leap. 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.—Kim T. Ha, Elkridge Branch Library, MD

Product Details

Walker & Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

SUSANNA LEONARD HILL is the author of Punxsutawney Phyllis and No Sword Fighting in the House (Junior Library Guild selection). She worked for many years teaching dyslexic students and now spends her time writing and presenting at schools. She lives in New York.

MIKE WOHNOUTKA is the illustrator of Jack's House, Cowboy Sam and Those Confounded Secrets, and The Wizzy Foot. A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Mike lives with his wife and two children in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Can't Sleep Without Sheep 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
NYC-Dad More than 1 year ago
My 4 and 6 year old LOVE it. Endearing story perfectly complemented by creative and wonderful illustrations. So many animals that each read brings out something new.
hillarity More than 1 year ago
We purchased this book a few days ago and have been reading it to our 1 1/2 year old daughter every night. She picks it out of the stack first thing. It is a fun story and the illustrations are fabulous!
Polly-Potato More than 1 year ago
Susanna Hill has done it again -- writing a delightful story that definitely will appeal to all toddlers as a bedtime or anytime story. The bevy of barnyard and wild animals who come to Ava's aid are hilarious as they tumble and bumble their way through her sleepless night. As the title suggests, the sheep prevail in the end. Mike Wohnoutka's charming illustrations add a lot to this must-read book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Ava tossed and turned in her bed, but try as she might she couldn't get to sleep. She held her dog stuffie over her head, leaned over the side of her bed to play with her soccer ball, and stretched her legs up against the headboard of her bed. No sleep. Her mother came in and suggested she count sheep. "One sheep jumping over the fence . . . two sheep jumping over the fence . . . three sheep jumping over the fence . . . " No sleep. Ava's head was filled with so many things she just couldn't get to sleep, even with those fluffy sheep sailing right over that picket fence. Sheep being sheep, they finally got tired of jumping over the fence for a little girl who couldn't go to sleep. Absolutely no more jumping because they were exhausted. Ava pleaded with them to continue so she could get some sleep, but the sheep promised they'd "find a replacement." A horse leaped over the fence and he was so much fun Ava just smiled with delight. No sleep. The daffy dumb cluck chickens just made her laugh. No sleep. The fluffy sheep just wiped his brow. This was going to be a tough one. The pigs were too slow and the cows "were a complete disaster." No fence. No sleep. A giraffe, an elephant, a crocodile, a moose, some flamingos, a waddle of penguins and other animals began to line up in front of the fence. Would any of these critters be able to get Ava to sleep? This heavenly, hilarious little tale of the sheep and a herd of other animals that couldn't get Ava to sleep will delight your little one. Try as they might those poor, exhausted sheep couldn't get Ava to fall asleep. Unless you have a rare child, I'm sure you've experienced the exhaustion the sheep felt when they tried everything to get her to fall asleep. I smiled and laughed as each animal tried to work their magic on Ava, especially the googly eyed chickens who didn't quite understand how to go over the fence. The artwork was scrumptiously silly and meshed perfectly with this zany tale. Quill says: If you are having some sleepless nights or simply want a fun bedtime tale, this is one you certainly should consider!
Eileen-Charbonneau More than 1 year ago
A great match of writer and illustrator! Great fun for reader and listener alike, a rare combination that makes the heart sing. Thank you for a great gift to children and everyone who loves them.