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SHEEP by Valerie Hobbs

SHEEP

By Valerie Hobbs

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 10th, 2006
ISBN: 0-374-36777-9
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

A Border collie, down on his luck, searches for his life’s work: a few good sheep. The agreeable narrator goes through a series of names, but the various monikers given him clearly have little effect on his own supremely confident sense of self (“He had to know how smart I was. I’m a Border collie, after all”). After a brief taste of fulfillment on a sheep ranch, the narrator is sold to a pet shop, then to an obnoxious little girl. From there, he meets up with a philosophizing Beat vagabond, a pair of drifters and a vicious circus owner before finding Luke, an orphan and fellow lost soul who names him Jack. While Jack’s narration lacks the spot-on eagerness of Cynthia Voigt’s Angus and Sadie (2005) or the in-the-skin reach for realism of Ann Martin’s A Dog’s Life (2005), what it lacks in doggie authenticity it makes up for in sass. The attitude that carries Jack through adventure after adventure to nothing short of a fairy-tale ending—complete with sheep—will win readers over and keep them rooting for him all the way. (Fiction. 8-12)