Baabwa & Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship by David Elliott, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Baabwaa & Wooliam by David Elliott with illustrations by the marvelous Melissa Sweet is a fantastic picture book that reads a bit like a fractured fairy tale and is a joy to read out loud. Wooliam enjoys reading and Baabwaa likes knitting, a "very practical hobby for sheep." While reading about pirates, Wooliam decides that he and Baabwaa should have an adventure. They head out into a new field and are enjoying the grass when a a sheep with a, "long rangy tail," a "filthy wool coat," and horrible teeth approaches.
Sensing that this is in fact that, "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" he has read about, Wooliam and Baabwaa flee - until the wolf stops. He wants to know about that thing Wooliam said, that thing about being in a book. When Wooliam tries to show the wolf, the sheep learn that, not only does the wolf have bad teeth cleaning habits, he doesn't know how to read! The sheep take the wolf in, teaching him to read and brush his teeth. Baabwaa also knits him a new coat.
Elliott's story is filled with humor, from the premise to the fact that, unable to totally tame his nature, the wolf occasionally jumps up in the middle of a lesson to chase Baabwaa and Wooliam around the field. The sheep don't mind - they are happy for the exercise. Sweet's illustrations are fantastic, from the frames that occasional fence in her illustrations to the cool palette of blues and greens with pops of red. Her sheep and wolf have a range of hilarious expressions and the interior of Baabwaa and Wooliam's house is quite elegant.