Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The 108th Sheep

According to the little counter, we're on the 108th book (Looks like we actually did an extra one in January. Maybe I'll take 4th of July off.) In honor of this I read to Maya a beautiful book I saw last year, The 108th Sheep, by Ayano Imai.

This is Imai's first children's book, but I hope she continues. She studied Japanese painting which is a favorite of mine, and while the illustrations here are not the popular brush paintings, the gentle touch and sparse beauty come through in the pencil and watercolor images.

Emma is having trouble going to sleep. After trying a couple of other methods, she decides to count sheep. She is surprised to still be awake when she reaches 100. After 107 she hears a thump, feels a shake, but no sheep.

Emma peers around the headboard to find that the 108th sheep cannot jump high enough to get over the bed. She and the other sheep try to help with sheep towers, stilts, and a trampoline. Finally Emma knows what to do. She cuts a hole in the headboard. Success. Girl and sheep fall fast asleep. What do you think Emma finds in the morning?

It's a precious tale, told and drawn with care. The pages of the book are thick and textured giving The 108th Sheep a very cozy feel. Highly recommended.

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