Mary Had a Sleepy Sheep, is written by Julia Dweck and illustrated by Wilson Williams, Jr. The book is a wonderful retelling of the old nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Mary had a sheep which slept all the time! She tried everything to keep her sheep awake: dancing, bright lights, spicy food, and tickling. Even the cat was engaged in keeping the sheep awake, but Mary’s sleepy sheep was more than she could handle!
Mary Had a Sleepy Sheep is a book in which kids will find hilarity, especially in Mary’s many attempts to keep her sheep awake. Appropriately written for preschoolers to first grade, Mary Had a Sleepy Sheep can easily charm its way into the hearts of older kids and adults. An easy fun read - this book is perfect for bedtime reading and read-aloud classroom sessions. During these reading sessions, teachers can engage kids’ imaginations by encouraging them to think of other creative ways in which Mary can keep her sleepy sheep awake!
Of course the fun and wittiness of the book extends into the illustrations. Williams’ drawings are kid friendly and lively, capturing the mood of the story and Shepard’s character traits well. The hidden mouse in each illustration also provides an activity to garnish kids’ attention and input.
Behind the fun and the hilarity though, is reasoning and problem solving. The book encourages children to think, just as Mary did in the end to deduce how she could keep her sleepy sheep awake. Problem solving for preschoolers and kindergarteners is important to cognitive development, and Dweck creates the ideal story plot in which kids are encouraged to use brain power while having fun. A little deeper and much more humorous than the original nursery rhyme (Mary Had a Little Lamb), Dweck creates a winning story book that is most entertaining!