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When Sheep Sleep


By New York Times #1 best-selling author, Laura Numeroff and award-winning illustrator, David McPhail!

When you can't fall asleep
Then try counting sheep!

But what do you do if the sheep are already asleep? New York Times best-selling author Laura Numeroff, has ...
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By New York Times #1 best-selling author, Laura Numeroff and award-winning illustrator, David McPhail!

When you can't fall asleep
Then try counting sheep!

But what do you do if the sheep are already asleep? New York Times best-selling author Laura Numeroff, has crafted the perfect lullaby in which a small child imagines she encounters many cuddly animal families, only to find that they, too, are snuggled fast asleep! Lovely, soothing watercolors by award-winning and critically acclaimed illustrator David McPhail capture the dreaminess of bedtime.

Laura Numeroff and David McPhail, two icons in the world of children's books, make an invincible team with their first collaboration, When Sheep Sleep. Children will reach for this new classic again and again as the warm, gentle illustrations and calming rhyme lull them to sleep.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
The traditional remedy for sleeplessness involves counting imaginary sheep, but what's a little insomniac to do "if the sheep are asleep"? Dreamy watercolors by McPhail and frisky verse by the author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie tell the tale of an imaginative girl who looks for animals to count but, alas, finds only deer snoozing in the forest and bears hibernating in a cave. (ages 3 to 6)
The October 2006 issue of Child magazine
Publishers Weekly
For the child who isn't easily fooled into sleep-and the parent who must outsmart him-comes a soothing story that gently coerces little ones into bed. "When you can't fall asleep,/ Then try counting sheep!/ But what do you do if the sheep are asleep," beings Numeroff's (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie) reprise of the "what if" game. Rhyming verse smoothly moves the story along, as a girl and her teddy bear consider other animal alternatives. From pigs that "snore in a heap" to "cats on the sofa/ .../ snuggled asleep," the two soon learn that no creature is immune to the lure of eventual slumber. The rhythm of the verse produces an almost hypnotic effect, the better to act as a sleep-inducing agent for young listeners. Muted watercolor images of dozing creatures tenderly capture the peacefulness that accompanies sleep. McPhail (Mole Music) keeps readers' interest by mixing up the many perspectives from a child's eye-view, be it up close and personal while peering inside a rabbit hutch or observing a nest of birds from a safe distance. The final image of the entire ensemble at the foot of the bed of the now-sleeping girl leaves a satisfying last impression. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
"When you can't fall asleep, then try counting sheep! But what do you do if the sheep are asleep?" Written by the author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, this book's rhyming verses tell what to do if the sheep are asleep and you need to find something else to count in order to go to sleep. A child and her teddy bear venture out of bed to find other animals to count, but they are all asleep, too. Warm pen-and-watercolor illustrations feature deer, cows, pigs, birds, bears, and some cuddly puppies, cats, and rabbits. An endearing scene at the end of the story shows the child and the teddy bear asleep in their bed as the other animals stand around the bed watching them. The beautiful and large illustrations with mostly muted colors add to the peaceful effect of the prose. This is a wonderful book to read aloud to youngsters at bedtime.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A wide-awake child discovers that the sheep that she was literally counting on to help her doze off are fast asleep in a huge woolly pile at the foot of her bed. Exploring other options, she decides to "Count cows in the meadow/Instead of the sheep." But they are also snoozing in the moonlight. With her teddy bear by her side, she peeks in on pigs snoring in the mud, robins dreaming in their nest, and cats snuggled up on the sofa. McPhail's charming watercolor-and-ink illustrations are infused with warmth and are a lovely complement to the gentle, rhyming lullaby. The final scene shows all of the animals tenderly watching over the child tucked into bed, tired out from counting and drifting off to sleep. This cozy tale is sure to become a bedtime favorite.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Numeroff, master of cause-and-effect, knows what happens if you give a sheep a naptime: You have to count something else! Simple rhymed text describes how a young insomniac and her teddy bear count other sleeping animals in lieu of the woolly variety. On their imaginary travels, they see a family of nuzzling deer deep in the forest, a group of cows dozing in a meadow, a pile of snoring pigs in a sty, puppies cuddled up on pillows, birds dreaming in a nest, purring kittens on a sofa, snuggling bears safe in their cave and twitching rabbits asleep in a hutch. The girl's eyes begin to get heavy, and eventually she is all tuckered out. Surrounded by so much slumber-and some of her animal friends-she drifts off to sleep herself. McPhail's warm and cozy pen-and-watercolor paintings provide the perfect touch and include inviting endpapers of snoozing sheep. A pleasant, satisfying bedtime story, just right for sending little ones off to sleep. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810954694
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Pages: 24
  • Sales rank: 446,778
  • Age range: 1 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Numeroff
Laura Numeroff
Any kid who's dealt with an exasperated adult is sure to appreciate Laura Joffe Numeroff's If You Give a... series, where children take on semi-parental roles with unexpected, demanding animal guests. Numeroff is an expert at silly situations, catchy verses and stories that absorb and engage.


If you give a series-prone author an inch, she'll take a mile -- and fortunately for fans of Laura Numeroff's books, she took her concept and is still running with it. Her aphoristic animal stories show what happens when you give a little something ... and get a big list of follow-up requests.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and its companion titles have become favorites not only of parents, but of teachers who like the books' visual elements and domino-effect storylines. Numeroff's other popular titles, What Mommies Do Best/What Daddies Do Best and What Grandpas Do Best/What Grandmas Do Best, are loving paeans to activities shared with adults.

A would-be fashion designer who grew up in Brooklyn and now lives in California with a mini-menagerie of pets, Numeroff's stock in trade is her "silly imagination" and her love of animals. Her versatility as a storyteller has been enhanced by the fact that she works with different illustrators, though it also means that all Numeroff titles may not suit the same reader. Her anthropomorphic stories often capitalize on fantasy, but she also has a knack for rhyme, evident in particular in her books Dogs Don't Wear Sneakers and Chimps Don't Wear Glasses.

Numeroff doesn't seem to run out of ideas for ridiculous situations to put people and animals in, nor does she stop celebrating what's special about family relationships. This is what will keep readers coming back to her titles, series-oriented or not.

Good To Know

Numeroff says her parents instilled a love of science and stamp collecting in her as a child, and she has grown into a collector as an adult. Among her collections: stuffed animals, old photographs, autographed children's books, and Halloween masks.

As a teenager, Numeroff was inspired by her sister to become a fashion designer, leading to her attendance at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn for college. "Unfortunately," she says, "I hated everything about the fashion department and I couldn't sew to save my life!" Instead, she took a class on writing and illustrating books for children. Her first effort, about the tallest girl in the third grade, was sold before Numeroff graduated. (Amy for Short is now out of print.)

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    1. Also Known As:
      Laura Joffe Numeroff
    2. Hometown:
      Brentwood, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 14, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      B.F.A. with honors, Pratt Institute, 1975; attended Parsons College, 1975
    2. Website:

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