From the Publisher
The New York Times, August 25, 2013:
"The sweet and funny story of a little girl who is helped to sleep by a flock of sheep...Painted in Lobel’s detailed, decorative style, Lena’s starry coverlet and fluffy pillows make bedtime look very inviting.”
Publishers Weekly, June 3, 2013:
"Lobel’s (Nini Lost and Found) gouache and watercolor art adds to the story’s offbeat humor; the sheep’s vivid disguises include cat masks, tutus, sailor outfits, and more. An inventive and slightly raucous bedtime tale."
Booklist, August 1, 2013:
"There’s something beguilingly childlike about this simple story, in which the girl takes charge, reassuring her “silly sheep” that the moon won’t eat them, and when that doesn’t work, managing their fears in a playful way. The gouache-and-watercolor illustrations create cozy, yet lively scenes that are full of color, pattern, and movement. A quiet, imaginative tale that is just right for reading aloud at bedtime."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 2013:
"The gentle plot and quiet cadence of the text make this bedtime book a effective soporific that may actually induce slumber in its young audience...The gouache and watercolor art is cozy and attractive, with a folk-art solidity, and Lobel’s slightly smudgy layering and blending of colors gives depth and richness to the pictures...Besides bedtime reading, this might also lend itself as a closing title for an evening library storytime session."
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2013:
"A lovely 'Going-to-Bed Book' indeed."
After Lena’s parents tuck her into bed, a conventional scenario gives way to a humorous fantasy. Needing help to fall asleep, she bids her “woolly friends” to come out. “I’m ready to count you now,” says the curly-haired girl. But the sheep are frightened by the “round monster in the window” (the full moon, pictured making a grotesque face) and hide under Lena’s bed. At her suggestion, they dress up in costumes so the moon “will not know you are sheep.” This creates a new conundrum: they are so “clumsy in their costumes” that they can’t line up to be counted—until Lena finds a solution that helps her finally get to sleep. Her earnest, tactical conversation with the sheep takes some amusing turns; when they lament that the moon “looks hungry and ready for a sheep snack,” she says, “He’s not hungry. He’s already full.” Lobel’s (Nini Lost and Found) gouache and watercolor art adds to the story’s offbeat humor; the sheep’s vivid disguises include cat masks, tutus, sailor outfits, and more. An inventive and slightly raucous bedtime tale. Ages 2–5. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Nancy Garhan Attebury
A bright full moon peers into Lena's window as she settles down to sleep. Her parents tuck her in and she asks them to leave her curtains open so she will have the moon's company until her sheep come home. Lena needs her comforting sheep to help her sleep, too, and she is certain they will like the moon's face. But when she calls the sheep they do not come. They believe the moon is a monster; the sheep are frightened to come out. Lena's quick thinking remedies the situation. She asks the sheep to dress up in her clothes so the moon does not know they are sheep. However, the hilarious clothes the sheep choose create a frenzy when they attempt to line up over Lena's bed. Because they cannot make a straight line with the clothes on Lena cannot count them. Finally Lena's problem is solved when a cloud covers the moon, the sheep are no longer afraid, they take off the clothes, and make a perfect line for Lena to count. Youngsters will enjoy this solution and soothing ending. This tale is well-written and utilizes an understandable concept young children will relate to and want to hear again and again. Beautiful "folk-artsy" illustrations compliment the text and will easily warrant several looks. The humor and frivolity add fun. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Every evening Lena counts her sheep to help her fall asleep, but tonight they are afraid of the "round monster" in the window. Lena tries to explain that it's just the Moon, but those silly creatures won't listen, so she convinces them to dress up in disguises to scare it away. When a bit of cloud covers it, the sheep finally line up so she can count them properly. This simple story lulls readers gently toward slumber with a clever heroine and a simple premise. The beautiful gouache and watercolor illustrations are classic Lobel, from the detailed design of Lena's flowered footboard to the clever layout, which maintains separate illustration spaces on the right- and left-hand sides until the final spread-a satisfying, expansive picture of Lena's sheep flying overhead as she drifts off to sleep.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
When Lena's parents tuck her into bed, she inadvertently unleashes a bit of ovine chaos by asking them to leave the curtains open so she can see the full moon. Lena loves the moon, and the picture hanging above her bed suggests that she loves sheep, too. When her parents leave her bedroom, she calls for the sheep to come out so she can count them and lull herself to sleep. They are afraid of the moon, though, and think it looks like a monster that is "ready for a sheep snack." Even though she's sleepy, Lena is patient and tells the sheep they can disguise themselves in her clothing to trick the moon. Lobel's soft watercolor-and-gouache paintings take on a frenetic energy in this scene, as the sheep in Lena's clothing frolicking about seem in desperate need of herding so that they might provide Lena with a restful, orderly parade through her imagination. Then, one sheep notices that clouds obscure the moon and thinks the monster is gone. Reassured, the sheep line up, and Lena counts them to sleep. The pitch-perfect ending finds the moon, not monstrous at all, peeking from behind the clouds to say, "Good night, silly sheep. And good night, lovely Lena." A lovely "Going-to-Bed Book" indeed. (Picture book. 2-5)