Ten Sleepy Sheep

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Ten, nine, eight. . . . Rhythmic master Phyllis Root lulls little lambs to sleep to the tune of enchanting pastoral images by Susan Gaber.

"Time to sleep,"
call the mama sheep in the grass knee-deep.

Outside in the farmyard, ten lively lambs would rather play than go to sleep. So off they scamper, off they skip. But the sun is sinking, the stars are twinkling, and sleepy eyes can’t stay open. Ten, nine, eight. . . . One by one, ten drowsy sheep...

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Susan Gaber Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A. 2004 Hard Cover New in New jacket 11 x 9 1/2. New with minimal shelfwear. Mylar coverd. In this beautifully illustrated counting book, ... one by one, ten sheep reluctantly fall asleep in the barnyard. Read more Show Less

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Ten, nine, eight. . . . Rhythmic master Phyllis Root lulls little lambs to sleep to the tune of enchanting pastoral images by Susan Gaber.

"Time to sleep,"
call the mama sheep in the grass knee-deep.

Outside in the farmyard, ten lively lambs would rather play than go to sleep. So off they scamper, off they skip. But the sun is sinking, the stars are twinkling, and sleepy eyes can’t stay open. Ten, nine, eight. . . . One by one, ten drowsy sheep drop off to sleep in a cozy country countdown. With lilting, lyrical language and charmingly scenic views of lambs drifting off wherever they may, author and artist have blended the perfect potion to ease even spirited little ones into sweet dreams. Adorning the storybook cover are ten shiny ribbons — a different color highlighting each little sheep.

One by one ten sheep reluctantly fall asleep in the barnyard.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Root's (The Name Quilt) bucolic bedtime counting book uses some spirited lambs to help young readers unwind. " `Time to sleep,'/ call the mama sheep/ in the grass knee-deep./ But ten little sheep/ don't want to sleep." A rhythmic, alliterative countdown ensues, as one by one the spunky lambs conk out at various places around the farmyard. "Five sheep scoot/ past the red barn door./ Swallows swoop./ Barn owls whoop./ Sleep, sheep./ Now there are..." (the numeral four tops the next spread). The italicized plea to sleep appears just above a vignette of a lamb settling down next to a bale of hay. The same lamb-looking more sluggish than his bouncy companions-can be found in the spread's main illustration. Gaber's (The Very First Thanksgiving Day) acrylic and pastel artwork nimbly portrays the energetic but dwindling flock while maintaining a dream-like air with soft edges and backdrops of dusky greens and blues. The pastoral scenes offer varied perspectives, from close-ups of the young sheep cavorting in a pond to aerial views of them frolicking amid the farm's routines as the day winds down. Comfortingly predictable in layout and rhyme scheme, this book serves as a soothing numerical nightcap. Ages 2-5. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
What happens when it's time for sleep, and ten sheep don't want to sleep? This is a story filled with adventure and charm! Ten sheep explore a green gate, leap a cucumber vine, and amble past an apple tree. Each page of this enticing picture book details an adventure which leaves one less sheep in the group. Finally, one sheep remains and can't sleep. So, Mama suggests counting sheep. Soon, the young sheep is soundly sleeping. The pictures are beautiful, soft, illustrations in hues of green, yellow, and soft whites. The tender expressions on each sheep will appeal to young readers. The written language is fun and includes; swallows swoop, crickets strum, and barn owls whoop. This beautifully illustrated and well written counting book is the perfect bed time story for any young child. The book would make a perfect gift for any young child and their family. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 3 to 5.
—Mindy Hardwick
School Library Journal
PreS-K-Ten frisky lambs romp around the farm not quite ready for bed. Each time they move from one place to another, one is left behind, sound asleep. All of the spreads are configured in the same manner: an oversized illustration extends to the second page with a short stanza on the right: "10/Ten little sheep/leap the cucumber vine./Long grass bends./Spider mends./Sleep, sheep." Beneath the text is a smaller, softly focused vignette spotlighting the animal that has just fallen asleep. Finally, under this drawing is the phrase, "Now there are-," which will garner listener participation and encourage a quick turn of the page. The lambs are all wearing different colored ribbons around their necks, a visual touch that allows readers to track them individually. At story's end, one lamb remains awake and her mama asks, "Have you tried counting sheep?" As the text reiterates all of the sleeping places, an illustration of the entire farm maps all of the locales. Done in acrylics and pastels, the art carries readers from sunset to moonrise and the light is soft with lush greens and blues darkening gradually as dusk falls. Gaber uses curved lines-bounding sheep, bulging buildings-and a close focus on the action to create an intimate perspective. This sweet and simple book is nicely paced for a bedtime tale but would also be effective for group sharing.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this snooze-time, count-down rhyme, ten lambs, each identified in Gaber's cozy, twilit scenes by a differently colored neck ribbon, gambol about farmyard and fields, nodding off one by one until the last one comes back to Mama: " ‘Mama, I can't sleep.' / ‘Hush,' says her mama. / ‘Have you tried counting sheep?' " The murmurous rhythms of Root's rhyme, the soothing serenity of Gaber's art, plus smooth verbal and visual transitions between spreads make this invitation to dreamland as hard for wakeful lambs of the two-legged variety to resist as Jane Dyer's Lullaby Moons and a Silver Spoon (2003), Ruth Louise Symes's Sheep Fairy (2003), or other bedtime reading that features the ever-popular woollies. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763615451
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.88 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Phyllis Root was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and attended Valparaiso University. A trip to a friend’s farm to help with lambing season was the inspiration for TEN SLEEPY SHEEP. "Counting sheep isn’t always easy," she confesses. "Once, while we were farm-sitting, my daughter and I had to chase down two runaway lambs in the growing darkness, then count twenty-seven frisky lambs to make sure they were all safe for the night. Luckily, they were." Phyllis Root has written many books for children, including BIG MOMMA MAKES THE WORLD, OLIVER FINDS HIS WAY, WHAT BABY WANTS, RATTLETRAP CAR, and ALL FOR THE NEWBORN BABY.

Susan Gaber has illustrated numerous books for children, including THE VERY FIRST THANKSGIVING DAY by Rhonda Gowler Greene, and WHEN WINTER COMES by Nancy Van Laan. She is very fortunate to live near a small market that has a fenced yard full of chickens, ducks, a pony, and sheep. While she was working on TEN SLEEPY SHEEP, she would study the two lambs that had come to live there. "Sheep have a reputation for being peaceful and sweet," she says, "but they can also have a stubborn and somewhat rebellious nature, especially when they’re young. Phyllis illustrates this so beautifully in her story. I’m sure children will identify with that, and I, unconsciously, may have too."

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Customer Reviews

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( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2004


    This is a bedtime story you can count on - literally. Pastel and acrylic illustrations in moonlit tones follow the adventures of ten little sheep on their way to bed. When their mother calls that it's time to go to sleep the ten sheep jump over the cucumber vine to play some more. But gradually one by one the lambs tire and fall asleep. Youngsters will enjoy watching the lambs as they see blossoms close and ducklings close, all soft drowsy suggestions. In addition, young ones can practice their counting as they nod off. 'Ten Sleepy Sheep' is an imaginative bedtime story beautifully illustrated.

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