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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Marciano (Madeline Says Merci) says au revoir to Madeline his grandfather's beloved protagonist and introduces characters of his own in this text-heavy tale. "Unschooled" little lamb Delilah, less expensive than the highly trained sheep at the factory farm, is all that a lonely farmer named Red can afford. But Delilah and Red become fast friends and even workmates: not only can Delilah weed, she can paint barns and gather eggs with her teeth. When Delilah's productivity enables Red to buy a dozen trained sheep, their misanthropic criticism drives a wedge between Delilah and Red ("You lick his head? How unsanitary!"). Eventually, though, Delilah follows her heart and not her herd. Marciano draws faces with the evocative simplicity of his grandfather's draftsmanship. Unfortunately, that restraint does not extend to the storytelling or the fulsome painting style. On one page, Red, wearing a bold plaid shirt, is framed by gray brick walls, a red tile floor, a white board ceiling and a checkerboard-roofed house in the background; on other spreads, a swarm of patterns and colors compete for readers' attention. Unrelated facing pages compound the busyness (e.g., a river on a left page flows smack into the middle of a garage on the right page). Although nearly upstaged by the visual ruckus, the sweetness of Red and Delilah's friendship quietly shines through. Ages 3-8. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-This debut effort by Marciano is a charmer. Red leads a quiet, lonely life until he purchases a little lamb-all he can afford. He names her Delilah, and she becomes his best friend, helping him on his farm. When he shears her in the spring, there's so much wool that he can afford a dozen more sheep-and they have been trained to be super productive. That's when Delilah's troubles begin. The other lambs make fun of her because she has a name, she works, and she likes the farmer. Poor Delilah is caught between her love for Red and the thought that maybe she should be a "normal sheep." By autumn, the others have worn her down and she joins them. Both Delilah and Red suffer through a long, lonely winter until, on shearing day, Delilah realizes that the sheep are mean and nasty and she licks Red's face. Young readers will delight in the ups and downs of this unusual friendship and absorb a gentle lesson about conformity and individuality. The gouache paintings make the characters even more endearing. Four wordless pages picturing the action during Delilah's sojourn with the sheep are unexpected and the transition back into text is a bit jarring, but readers will not be able to resist these engaging friends.-Jeanne Clancy Watkins, Chester County Library, Exton, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Life on the farm was lonely and hard for Red, at least until a sweet lamb named Delilah came along to change everything. Red had raised chickens and cows and even donkeys, but he had no idea what a difference one little sheep could make. All Red could afford was one young and unschooled sheep and she arrived, stepping from the back of the delivery truck on wobbly legs. From the first day, they did everything together. They watered the plants, weeded the garden, collected the eggs, and rode in the tractor. Together they looked forward to the delivery of the dozen new sheep in the spring, but their arrival would change everything for the two friends. The new sheep told Delilah that it was unseemly for a sheep to act in such human ways, and confused, she decided to follow their lead. Months passed, but Delilah was determined to blend in with the rest of the sheep, leaving Red alone once again. Finally, when she could stand it no longer, one lick from her tongue let Red know that they could be friends once more. Delightfully simple pencil-and-gouache illustrations accompany the quiet story of an unlikely friendship. Delilah is sure to become a bedtime favorite. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670035236
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Publication date: 5/27/2002
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.36 (w) x 11.48 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

John Bemelmans Marciano
John Bemelmans Marciano
John Bemelmans Marciano is the grandson of Ludwig Bemelmans, author of the original Madeline books. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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