WASHINGTON: Every child goes through periods of time when going to bed is a challenge. Whether they are scared of the dark, too excited about upcoming events, or starting to outgrow their bedtimes, parents know the frustration of kids who can’t sleep.
A commonly prescribed remedy for sleeplessness is counting sheep. But what if the sheep are the problem?
Let Me Sleep Sheep
Author Meg McKinlay and illustrator Leila Rudge explore this very dilemma in Let Me Sleep, Sheep!.
Amos is trying to get to sleep. Just after he closes his eyes, the fluffy sheep start bouncing in front of him. Loud thuds jar him awake. There are two sheep in his bedroom. And they are rather unhappy about having their daily activities upset.
They are very busy and just want to get on with their business, which is not in Amos’ room. Oh, they also have names.
Felix and Walter.
After a brief discussion, Amos is informed that there are rules for counting sheep. He must have a fence for them to jump and until he has a fence they live in his bedroom. The sheep decide to use the hot tub while Felix gets to work making a fence. His first attempt is too low. His second fence is too high, and each attempt after has some sort of problem as well.
Finally, Amos designed a fence the sheep find suitable, but they insist Amos test it. So, Amos jumps over it. Then he continues jumping until he is so tired he falls asleep.
The sheep decide that even though Amos no longer needs them, they were going to jump it anyway and invite the other counting sheep for a party in Amos’ room while he sleeps.
The Counting Sheep Are The Story
This is a fun story, and the sheep are really the main characters. While the story couldn’t work without a child to count the sheep, the sheep bring fun personalities and comedy to the book. It is a short book and leaves the reader wanting to actually meet Judith (mentioned as sheep number 7). There are plenty of antics the sheep get up to while Amos designs his fence.
While the illustrations attempt to do this, it felt like the story could have been stretched out a little longer to really get a more of a feel that the sheep were keeping Amos up longer than he wanted.
The illustrations do their job of telling the part of the story that isn’t put down in words. They attempt to show the sheep’s mischief through the colorful drawings of sheep deep into one mess or another.
Don’t be surprised if tired children start blaming their messy rooms on the counting sheep. Maybe readers should take the sheep’s suggestion and start counting pigs instead.
Let Me Sleep, Sheep! by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leila Rudge was published in April 16, 2019 by Candlewick Press. It is available as a hardcover picture book, and is recommended for ages 5-8, although children as young as 3 would probably enjoy the story. ISBN: 9781536205473