In this debut counting book from author Young and illustrator Popovic, a group of fluffy sheep enjoy daily activities before falling asleep.
Twelve sheep, each labeled with a colored numeral, perform rhyming tasks: One, two, and three dance; four, five, and six prance, and others hop or plop onto the ground. Following a purple arrow, six sheep go up a hill; following a red one, six more slide down. Then all 12 eat a snack before heading off to bed: “Nine sheep, ten sheep snuggle deep. / Eleven sheep, twelve sheep fast asleep.” The digitally illustrated, full-color sheep are each similar in design and basically interchangeable except for their numerals, but they feature a range of facial expressions. The number words in the text (“Seven sheep, eight sheep, nine sheep hop”) are the same color as the numerals on the sheep, which will help young readers to connect the concepts. Overall, Young’s rhyming text flows very well, switching rhythmic patterns to feel active at the start and soothing at the end. Some intriguing word choices may be unfamiliar to lap-readers (“prance,” “Blankets Drawn”), but they’re easily understandable in context.
A cute, varied exercise in counting sheep that makes for a perfect bedtime read for very young readers.