Who knew that one little girl with her basket of knitting needles could so tax the wool production of a generous black sheep?
Starting with the familiar refrain, the nursery rhyme veers into a rhyming, amusing place: “One for a hat, and one for mittens / and one for a messy muddle for the kittens.” Soon, she is knitting vests for birds, sweaters for the shepherd, wigs and beards for pigs, a tea cozy, and even black sweaters for tiny white sheep! Careful readers will notice that the black sheep’s own wool is getting thinner and thinner with each page turn. While all the other farm critters and people in the village are cozy in their black sweaters and blankets, the sheep is eventually bald all over! But, never fear, our little heroine has a plan. There’s a lot to appreciate here: the gift recipients are all familiar nursery characters (Bo Peep, Little Boy Blue, the three little kittens, the three pigs, the old woman in the shoe—and her brood is multiethnic), the thinning of the sheep’s wool is slow and subtle, making the big reveal a true surprise, and the clouds look like sheep. Cabrera’s winning style—acrylics with bold, black outlines—is perfect for the preschool audience. Both lap listeners and the audience at story hour will be able to see every detail.
Another winner from Cabrera. (Picture book. 3-7)