One Smart Sheep by Gary D. Schmidt & Elizabeth Stickney. Illustrated by Jane Manning

One Smart Sheep

Wilson is Abigail Atwood’s friendliest, woolliest, and smartest sheep, and that “is a lot for one sheep to be.” When Abigail lets her 27 sheep out to pasture with the help of her faithful border collie named Tippy, all the sheep except one head straight for the lush grass. Wilson—curious, genial, and hungry for attention—stays behind, rubbing his head against Abigail’s knee and touching noses with Tippy. After Abigail closes the pasture gate, Wilson watches the girl and her dog go to the house, and he bleats “a soft baa that was a little bit lonely.”  

Abigail doesn’t get along with her neighbor, Jeremiah Jefferson, because he says that sheep are “stupid as all get-out.” Abigail confronts Jeremiah with a challenge: “I sometimes wonder if Wilson might be every bit as smart as you are.”  

In a hilarious succession of incidents, Wilson proves just how smart he really is. An unlatched gate, an unexpected and challenging ride in an empty delivery truck, and unfamiliar sounds—the rumble of trucks on the highway, a jackhammer, the cries of a hot dog man selling his wares, and ringing bells—contribute to Wilson’s adventurous journey of getting lost and creatively finding the way home. 

Meanwhile, when Abigail realizes Wilson is gone, she reaches out for help to an unlikely source—Jeremiah. As the two, accompanied by Tippy, join forces to achieve a common goal, their perspectives about each other change: now Jeremiah realizes how smart Wilson is and Abigail appreciates that Jeremiah has some good qualities after all. 

Illustrator Jane Manning’s delightful, vibrant pictures capture Wilson’s curious nature, Abigail’s fierce loyalty to her animals, Tippy’s happy, hard-working character, and Jeremiah’s grouchy, yet loving personality. Short, fast-paced chapters, peppered with humorous insights, will amuse and capture the attention of children who are just learning to read and those who read independently. (Clarion Books)

About the Author

Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer and a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.

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