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Hide and Sheep written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by Bill Mayer

If you have read Iggy Peck, Architect written by Andrea Beaty, then you know she has a way with a rhyme. If you have read her Ted books about a little bear trying on different professional hats, then you know she is also very, very funny. However, you may not know that this gifted picture book author has also written books for older readers that are both hilarious (Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies) and moving (Cicada Summer). With Hide and Sheep, Beaty brings the rhyme, the funny and a perfectly matched illustrator,  Bill Mayer. Mayer's earth tones and use of pixilation in the illustrations give the artwork a textured, old-time Sunday comic feel that makes this a standout on the shelf.
Sheep are funny. And cute. And sneaky. If you have ever watched the brilliant BBC show Shaun the Sheep, then you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, Shaun is the victim, I mean benefactor, of a shearing-spinning-knitting machine invented by Wallace, from the Wallace & Gromit short film, A Close Shave. Beaty's sheep are every bit as inventive and sneaky as Shaun's flock in this counting book, which begins with a sleepy Farmer McFitt and some restless ovine. The flock hops the fence and heads out into the wide world for a day of fun, losing a fuzzy tail to McFitt after each new adventure.  First stop, the zoo and a meet and greet with one of my favorite animals who rarely makes an appearance in a picture book - the OKAPI! Related to the giraffe, this is one gorgeous animal that you all must see in person!
Onto the circus, a baseball game, the movies, a museum. 
At the movies, "Seven sly lambkins are eager to go. They sneak to the village to take in a show. Alone in the dark with their favorite flick, they gobble down popcorn until they feel sick."
The verse on this page reads, "Hooves click on marble. They dance and they play with Salvador Dalí, van Gogh, and Monet." Mayer has outdone himself with imitations of two of van Gogh and Dalí's msot famous paintings, with sheep, of course.
The party continues at the beach, the library ("Novels and poetry! All of it free! They nosh and they nibble from A down to Z.") The firehouse leads to a final stop at a school where the last little lamb follows Mary but, "The farmer comes creeping. It's too late to run! CLIP! CLIP! and SNIP! Now the shearing is done."
After shearing and knitting, Farmer McFitt has finally dressed his flock. The last line of the book is, "Now stop counting sheep. . . it's time for bed."

If you are sheep lovers, parents to sheep lovers or just people who like a good rhyme, don't miss Where is the Green Sheep by the amazing Queen of Rhyme, Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek. This very fun, very short rhyming book follows the various sheep (blue sheep, red sheep, bath sheep, bed sheep, car sheep, train sheep) encountered in the hunt for the elusive green sheep. Published in 2004, this book has a huge underground following, spawning a super-cute toy, what sounds like a fabulous production by the Seattle Children's Theater Group and a spectacular birthday cake.

Seattle Children's Theater


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