Feeding the Sheep

Feeding the Sheep

by Andrea U'Ren, Leda Schubert
     
 

Day to day, season to season, Mom tends the family's small flock of sheep, and then shears and washes, cards and dyes, spins and knits. Every step of the way, her little girl watches and asks, "What are you doing?" As playful as it is informative, this rambunctiousread-aloud features a mother and daughter making a game of their warm and wooly enterprise.

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Overview

Day to day, season to season, Mom tends the family's small flock of sheep, and then shears and washes, cards and dyes, spins and knits. Every step of the way, her little girl watches and asks, "What are you doing?" As playful as it is informative, this rambunctiousread-aloud features a mother and daughter making a game of their warm and wooly enterprise.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Fun, yet informative picture book.” —Library Media Connection

“Feeding the Sheep will teach and entertain the very young, and they'll be examining their sweaters with greater appreciation.” —School Library Journal

“The collaboration of text and illustration is seamless and presents a complex operation in a manner completely accessible and understandable to young readers. Lovely.” —Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
On a snowy winter day, a young girl asks her mother the question she will ask on each double page: "What are you doing?" Each answer by her mother is followed by a brief rhyme. First she is feeding the sheep. As spring arrives, she is shearing the wool. Step by step we follow the process from the washing and drying of the wool to the carding, spinning, dying, and knitting, to the "Sweater snug, woolly hug" of the warm blue sweater made for the girl. On the final double page, the mother asks the girl what she is doing. "Feeding the sheep," she replies, as the cycle begins again. The naturalistic, detailed illustrations are boldly stated with heavy black outlines and opaque colors. As her mother cards the wool, the girl brushes a hairy dog, surrounded by her dolls and art supplies, and the cat watches from the couch. The emotional connection between them is evident. As she tells the intimate visual story, U'Ren delivers the basic information about wool from sheep to sweater. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-K—There are a number of children's books that trace the steps from sheep to wool to clothing, including Tomie dePaola's Charlie Needs a Cloak (S & S, 1982); Cynthia Millen's A Symphony for the Sheep (Houghton, 1996); and, most amusingly, Leslie Helakoski's Woolbur (HarperCollins, 2008) and Teri Sloat's Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep (DK, 2000). This book doesn't cover any new ground, but its approach is unique, showing the loving relationship between a mother and her daughter through the seasons as the animals are fed and sheared; the wool is cleaned, carded, spun, and dyed; and a sweater is knitted. Schubert's musical text has a predictable, soothing structure: "'What are you doing?' the little girl asked. 'Feeding the sheep,' her mother said. Snowy day, corn and hay. 'What are you doing?' the little girl asked. 'Shearing the wool,' her mother said. Soft and deep, sheepy heap." Particularly rewarding is the way the characters come full circle, exchanging roles by the book's end. U'Ren's gently outlined watercolor illustrations contribute a vivid look at farm life, at the expansive pastureland, and at the roomy farmhouse. The sheep are both realistic and winsome. The daughter's play beguilingly echoes her mother's work; for instance, when her mother is dying the wool, the little girl is painting on paper, and they both hold up their blue-stained hands. Children will want to examine the pictures for funny little details, such as a painting of a sheep jumping over the moon. Feeding the Sheep will teach and entertain the very young, and they'll be examining their sweaters with greater appreciation.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Kirkus Reviews
The simple daily farm task of feeding an animal begins a series of events that lead to a warm sweater. On a family farm an inquisitive child follows her mother as she takes all the steps from caring for the sheep, to shearing, drying, carding, spinning and dyeing the wool. Then she knits the sweater that will provide warmth for her daughter. But the real warmth and love is in the process. For each activity the child asks, "What are you doing?" Mother replies briefly, and Schubert adds a snappy four- or five-word descriptive rhyme. U'Ren's action-filled, brightly colored double-page spreads convey physical exertion and concentration as well as joy and satisfaction. There is a strong sense of depth and detail, and, in a subtle touch, the little girl's play mirrors her mother's work. The collaboration of text and illustration is seamless and presents a complex operation in a manner completely accessible and understandable to young readers. Lovely. (Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374322960
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
03/02/2010
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Leda Schubert lives in Plainfield, Vermont, and is a faculty member at Vermont College. Andrea U'Ren lives in Portland, Oregon, and is the winner of an IRA Children's Book Award for her own Mary Smith.

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