An unshelvably long, skinny format (approximately 7 inches high by 18 1/2 inches wide) isn’t all that makes this earnestly self-conscious odyssey dispensable.
Having “sensed” that he is different—obviously so, being outfitted with bright red stripes—Digby the sheep leaves his woolly white compatriots to follow a similarly striped hot air balloon into a junky city. There, encounters with red-and-white awnings, trash, hazard signs and the like leave him still wondering: “Why am I so different? And where do I belong?” Boarding a train, he ends up at the entrance to a red-and-white–striped lighthouse and so happily joins a nearby flock of (unstriped) sheep, as “the wind had told him” that “here, it was okay to be different.” Why the second flock and pasture should be preferable to the first is anybody’s guess; furthermore, Koch, mystifyingly, does not offer panoramic landscapes and sea views nor otherwise give the unwieldy dimensions of her simply drawn cartoon illustrations any justifiable purpose.
Both inscrutable and blaaaand. (Picture book. 4-8)