August 10, 2011

Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 12:33 am by suebe2

Woolbur 
by Leslie Helakoski
HarperCollins

As much as I love to knit and crochet, I’d never found a picture book involving the fiber arts that I actually liked.  Not until I encountered Woolbur, that is.

Woolbur is a sheep who definitely bleats to the beat of a different drummer.  His first problem with the herd comes when he’s expected to stand still. Woolbur prefers to run amok with the dogs.

“‘They’ll run circles around you!’ said Maa
‘I know,’ said Woolbur.  ‘Isn’t it great?’
‘Don’t worry,’ said Grandpaa.”

From carding to shearing, spinning and weaving, Woolbur’s problems continue.  Maa and Paa fret and fuss, kinking their wool into nocturnal knots.  What ever will become of their son?

***Plot Spoiler.  Do not read this section if knowing the ending will ruin the book for you.  Continue after the next header bracketed with asterisks and you’ll be safe.***

What did I love most about this book?  That Woolbur is not taught to conform.  Nope.  Good ol’ Woolbur is the hero of this story.  When his parents tell him that he will be just like everyone else (gag!), I was really worried.  Clearly, so was Grandpaa.  Woolbur agrees and you see him deep in thought.  But two spreads later he’s back and in rare form.  Not only is he running with the dogs, he’s teaching the other lambs what fun it can be.

***End of Spoiler issues***

Got a kiddo who thinks his own thoughts and does things his own way?  He may need this book, but chances are that it will be even better for his parents.

Lee Harper’s illustrations give us a group of bold confident lambs and a few fretful sheep as well.  They’re cartoony enough to give us lots of expression but not so much so that they look like something out of the funny papers.

This would make a fun read aloud, but expect group participation especially if you’re daring enough to invite a discussion about just how Woolbur will save the day.

–SueBE

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