Hide and Sheep
written by Andrea Beaty; illustrated by Bill Mayer
2011 (Margaret K. McElderry)
Source: Mebane Public Library
While Farmer McFitt is snoozing away, his sheep escape so they can go play. One sheep even pole vaults his way out. Ten of his critters find their way to the zoo where they frolic with the locals. Nine other sheep join the circus and discover their acrobatic talents. Since this is a counting book, eight sheep are discovered interrupting a baseball game while trying their hooves at being groundskeepers. The counting continues as the oddball sheep find themselves in atypical settings. Finally, one last sheep follows Mary into school and is apprehended and sheared by the suddenly cognizant Farmer McFitt. With sheep in tow and in sheep's clothing, Farmer McFitt enjoys a well deserved reward.
Looking above, you see sheep dressed in a polka dot bikini top, a cowboy hat, and fake nose and glasses respectively. The very definition of humor. Small children like to count and they like to laugh. You get both with Hide and Sheep and visual jokes that will make adults sheepishly grin. Andrea Beaty's text and Bill Mayer's illustrations are a hoot. It would be fun to ask students to think of other settings in which the sheep appear. A nice craft idea would be for students to create an outfit for the sheep. Needless to say, your class will also enjoy reading Hide and Sheep out loud several times.
Here's a question to ponder: Which animals are the best sources of humor in picture books? I know there are many chicken books out there, but sheep may be giving them a run for their feathers.
books4yourkids.com (Check out this review and the terrific pictures!)