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5.0 3
by Leslie Helakoski, Lee Harper (Illustrator)

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Woolbur's list of Do's and Don'ts:

DO express yourself creatively…
DON'T worry if you weave your forelock into a pot holder!

DO march to your own beat…
DON'T worry when Maa and Paa tell you to stay with the herd!

DO be bold and brave…
DON'T be afraid to BE YOURSELF!

Woolbur is not like other sheep. He hangs out with


Woolbur's list of Do's and Don'ts:

DO express yourself creatively…
DON'T worry if you weave your forelock into a pot holder!

DO march to your own beat…
DON'T worry when Maa and Paa tell you to stay with the herd!

DO be bold and brave…
DON'T be afraid to BE YOURSELF!

Woolbur is not like other sheep. He hangs out with wild dogs, cards his own wool to avoid the shearing barn, and even dyes his wool blue. "Don't worry!" says Grandpaa when Maa and Paa fret that Woolbur is different. But when they tell their son to follow the flock, the opposite happens—the flock follows him! Soon everyone is copying his wild hairstyles and taking turns on the spinning wheel. Leave it to Woolbur to find a new way to step ahead of the herd.

Spunky, funky, and refreshingly distinct, Woolbur will strike a chord with anyone who's ever felt different. And that's all of us!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In a fresh variation on the theme of marching to the beat of a different drummer, Helakoski (Big Chickens Fly the Coop, see Notes, below) presents Woolbur, a lamb with unique ideas. A series of linguistically similar episodes takes children through the process of how a sheep's wool is shorn, carded, spun, dyed and woven to make cloth-and at each step Woolbur demurs. "I don't want to shear [or card or spin] my wool," he says, and after his parents give him a reason they think he can't refute, he repeats the line, "I know... isn't it great?" Debut artist Harper's quirky illustrations picture Maa and Paa pulling their wool (instead of their hair) every night as Woolbur's Grandpaa advises them to relax. By story's end all the other lambs copy Woolbur-carding their own wool and experimenting with color-until his dumbfounded parents fret that they won't be able to find their distinctive son. Grandpaa says, "Don't worry," and the reader sees Woolbur inventing knitting. Harper meets the challenge of conceiving new ways to illustrate the patterned repetitions of the story, even if his characters are sometimes static, while Helakoski capitalizes on Woolbur's enthusiasm despite the predictable outcomes of the similar scenes. Children will relish Woolbur's ability to pull the wool over his parents' objections. Ages 3-6. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken and Sylvia Marantz
Woolbur, a young lamb, refuses to go along with the crowd. He enthusiastically runs with the dogs instead of standing still with the other sheep. He will not be sheared with the others, enjoying his long wool, and carding it by himself. And so he goes, from the spinning, through the dyeing, and the weaving. After he declines to participate in each, he comes home exclaiming, "Isn't it great?" And each time Grandpaa sheep says, "Don't worry." But Maa and Paa sheep do worry; they "pull their wool all night long." They finally insist that Woolbur must "follow the flock." Woolbur's non-conforming answer makes for a great surprise ending. Harper has created a charming, engaging young hero, the epitome of an independent, resourceful child. His magnetic personality is clear on the cover; his dancing alone far from the flock on the title page reinforces his free spirit. The anthropomorphic parents and grandparent and the conventional house they live in just emphasize Woolbur's difference. The fun goes all the way through the story, along with the lesson. Reviewer: Ken and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2
Woolbur is his own sheep. He doesn't follow the herd, he doesn't shear his wool in the spring, and he weaves his forelock into a flamboyant bouffant hairdo. And whenever his Maa and Paa point out to him that he is different, Woolbur's answer is, "I know....Isn't it great?" It's great for free-spirited Woolbur and his in-tune Grandpaa, but not for his concerned parents, who are picking themselves bald with worry. When they finally insist that their son must act more like the other sheep, Woolbur turns conformity on its head by teaching all of the others to act like him. Now Maa and Paa's concern is how they can identify their child from all the other eccentrics. Woolbur is a testament to individuality, although the conversion of the other sheep diminishes the message a bit. Still, it's nice to see a story in which being different is not a struggle but a happy choice made in the spirit of fun. Harper's amusing illustrations contribute to that fun with subtle details like Grandpaa's yin and yang bed linen and a copy of Right Brained Lambs on a lamp table beside a frazzled Maa. There is plenty to mull over, making this a good supplemental selection.
—Kara Schaff DeanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
11.04(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.36(d)
AD270L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Leslie Helakoski is the author of The Smushy Bus and Big Chickens, a Junior Library Guild selection. Born and raised near New Orleans, Leslie Helakoski received a degree in advertising from the University of Louisiana and one in illustration from Northern Michigan University. She now lives in Lawton, Michigan, with her family.

Lee Harper is an artist, teacher, and storyteller. Looking for the Easy Life is his fourth picture book. Lee also illustrated woolbur, by Leslie Helakoski, with "lumpy, expressive ovines, especially the wild-wooled Woolbur," that brought the "delightful tale of independence to life" (Kirkus Reviews); Turkey Trouble, by Wendi Silvano; and Snow! Snow! Snow!, the first book he both wrote and illustrated. Lee lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, with his family.

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Woolbur 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a story that can be utilized for so many different topics in a children's classroom (or at home). It has a fun tone, lots of repetition (great for children to join the storytelling), and many important messages.
mariteje More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book for anyone who wants to encourage a child to happily be who she/he was born to be. It is especially endearing to parents, grandparents &amp; other loving relatives who enjoy fiber arts. I am buying many to give to new moms.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found this book to be funny and easy to read. Felt that this book was Entertaining.