Can't Sleep Without Sheep
written by Susanna Leonard Hill; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
(Walker & Company) 2010
Source: Orange County Public Library
Ava is having a hard time falling asleep so she tries counting sheep. Unfortunately, Ava just counts and counts and the sheep are the ones getting tired of jumping fence after fence. The sheep decide to quit, but not before finding a replacement for Ava. The first applicants are horses, but they turn out to be too pretty to help her fall asleep. Next up are the chickens who are just too ridiculous in their attempts to jump the fence. Several other animals follow with hilarious levels of ineptitude (you need to see the penguins!), before Ava finds the perfect replacement.
I've seen descriptions of Can't Sleep Without Sheep and the word used often is adorable and Mike Wohnoutka's illustrations are just that. But I really like the humor in this story and its illustrations. It's a clever take on a common idea (counting sheep) and a fun way to teach point of view. It reminds me of Mark Teague books like Pigsty where there is humor with an original twist. There are also great vocabulary words like stampede and chaos where you could have students create an illustration to match one of these words. My students gave Can't Sleep Without Sheep a big thumbs-up.