When Lena’s parents tuck her into bed, she inadvertently unleashes a bit of ovine chaos by asking them to leave the curtains open so she can see the full moon.
Lena loves the moon, and the picture hanging above her bed suggests that she loves sheep, too. When her parents leave her bedroom, she calls for the sheep to come out so she can count them and lull herself to sleep. They are afraid of the moon, though, and think it looks like a monster that is “ready for a sheep snack.” Even though she’s sleepy, Lena is patient and tells the sheep they can disguise themselves in her clothing to trick the moon. Lobel’s soft watercolor-and-gouache paintings take on a frenetic energy in this scene, as the sheep in Lena’s clothing frolicking about seem in desperate need of herding so that they might provide Lena with a restful, orderly parade through her imagination. Then, one sheep notices that clouds obscure the moon and thinks the monster is gone. Reassured, the sheep line up, and Lena counts them to sleep. The pitch-perfect ending finds the moon, not monstrous at all, peeking from behind the clouds to say, “Good night, silly sheep. And good night, lovely Lena.”
A lovely “Going-to-Bed Book” indeed. (Picture book. 2-5)