In this 10th installment from the Tales of the Chinese Zodiac picture-book series, a curious lamb rallies her friends to keep the town from going thirsty.
Sydney is one hungry little lamb. Her shepherdess, Zhi, guides the way to meadows, where springtime has “coaxed tender blades from the ground.” But Sydney’s desire to go off the beaten path leads to mischief: She gets stuck in an apple tree; she munches on the flowers in a garden; and she discovers that a chimney is not her friend. After a great storm passes, Sydney, Zhi and friends find their land and pastures destroyed. Ever curious, Sydney uncovers a major problem with the river. She concocts a plan to help but will need the cooperation of all her zodiac-animal friends, who aren’t accustomed to working together. According to the author’s note, readers born in the year of the sheep are kindhearted and cooperative, and Chin uses these traits well to create a sweet, wild and woolly heroine. For the first time, Chau illustrates for this series, and she is a good fit. Some brush strokes and scenes are reminiscent of Chinese brush painting, and little surprises, such as a resting tiger counting sheep in Chinese, add mysticism and charm.
The Year of the Sheep is cause for celebration, especially for fans of the series. (list of zodiac animals) (Picture book. 4-8)