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WOOL GATHERING by Lisa Wheeler


A Sheep Family Reunion

by Lisa Wheeler & illustrated by Frank Ansley

Age Range: 4 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-84369-0
Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

This collection of poems is a hysterical spoof on reunions and the odd characters and behaviors that are at the heart of every family. Sister Alabaster is a lamb who sure knows her chops—she’s an expert in the martial arts, while the unassuming Cousin Lambert has a secret superhero identity, with the tool of steel wool at his disposal. From puns on counting and shearing sheep to “ewe,” “baa-dminton,” and “farewool,” clever word play abounds. And what sheep gathering would be complete without the wolf, in costume, of course? Some puns and asides are meant for parents, but will still bring a chuckle from children—Lanolin is a sheep with soft skin . . . because she grows her wool on the inside. Wheeler’s poetry debut features delightful rhythm and rhyme, but at times, her division of lines makes it difficult to follow the flow of the poem. Ansley’s (Trucks at Work, 1997) watercolors are a rip-roaring complement to the author’s humor. From Aunt Eweginia, who knits herself naked, to the team who eats away the baseball infield, they will have readers giggling with each turn of the page. If only every family reunion were guaranteed to be this much fun. (Picture book/poetry. 4-10)