cover image TEN LITTLE LAMBS


Alice B. McGinty, Lee Wardlaw, Melissa Sweet, , illus. by Melissa Sweet. . Dial, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2596-6

"Good night, little lambs. Go to sleep," a mother says to the 10 children sleeping over at her house. That endearment prompts one child to dream about a wild and wooly slumber party—of sheep. McGinty's (the Dogs Helping People series) rhyming verse and Sweet's (Bouncing Time) vibrant watercolors describe a madcap countdown: "Ten little lambs who won't go to sleep./ What will they do all night?/ They'll tackle and tumble, and wrestle and rumble./ Ten little lambs, all night." On each spread, one lamb falls asleep, leaving his peers to continue the high jinks. The verse can be awkward (of the grouping of five, McGinty writes, "They'll build a skyscraper with oatmeal and paper"), but the visuals compensate nicely. Sweet dresses the lambs in the pajamas worn by the child party-goers; she plants a big yawn on the lamb next destined for dreamland; and she shows the sleepers' faces in thumbnail portraits set into spreads portraying the late-night romping. Thanks partly to her frothy sherbet tones and playful penciling, the ovine guests exude good humor and guilelessness amid the mayhem. Rarely has naughtiness seemed quite so innocent. Ages 2-6. (May)