Reviewing picture books for reading and buying purposes, is more stringent as dollars dwindle. My reviews will be based on not only the merit of the books themselves, but also their impact on a young reader. Or WHY a particular book would make a good addition to a home library or reading/bedtime schedule.
This is also a personal choice for review, as I was asked to review it just days before the untimely passing of the very talented illustrator, Wilson Williams Jr. The author was kind enough to honor his request, and I'm doubly sad at his loss, because the book is one of those that belongs in my personal library and it's sad there will be no more from him.
From a learning stand point, children who are sung to, play word games- especially rhyming games which help distinguish sounds and have a high level of interest, or are read to, have enhanced development as readers. From a readers standpoint, there is nothing like the sheer delight of reading good rhyme that tells a story and strikes the funny bone, especially with children as the audience.
Julia Dwek has achieved this in Mary had a Sleepy Sheep. It's a rollicking, sometimes farcical romp in this parody of Mary had a little sheep as poor Mary tries to keep her companion sheep awake. From perfect rhyme, to silly positions (the idea of samba-ing with a sleeping sheep just tickles the funny bone) and a myriad of words for sleep, it's fun for even for the somnambulist.
Wilson Williams, Jr's illustrations are deftly handled, the characters rendered with humor, confidence and a soft palette. Williams' characters are consistent, clear and appealing.
This is a perfect bedtime read, but the numerous activities at the end makes it also a good book to take with on travels to occupy and amuse young children.
Mary had a Sleepy Sheep is an ebook, I hope they will format it for print as well.
As an ebook, it's easily read, and a good way to introduce technology to children or way to read to a child in public without having to carry a cumbersome book bag.
Other books by Julia Dwek: Werewolf Kid (KiteReader Monster series) (illustrated by Kai Klimiont); Zippety Zoo a Magical Zoo (illustrated by Doug Jones); Faux Pas: a Bear Story (illustrated by Walter Carzon); Humpfree the Humpless Camel (illustrated by Young Min); Donuts (illustrated by Adam Duff); Blucy the Blue Cat (illustrated by Erika LeBarre
Other books illustrated by Wilson Williams, Jr: A Perfect Pet for Peyton (A 5 Love Languages Discovery Book) (written by Gary D. Chapman and Rick Osborn)