Where is the Green Sheep? – a rainbow of contrasts

th-7Meet a rainbow of colorful, happy and contrasting sheep… but one is missing!

Bibliographic Info:  Fox, Mem (author), Horacek, Judy (illustrator) Where is the Green Sheep?  Harcourt, Inc. (2004) 32pp. $16.99  Formats: Hardcover ISBN 0-15- 204907-X, Board Book  Interest Level: preK-2  Reading Level/Grade Level Equivalent: 1.5  Genre: Rhyming Books, Read Alouds  Themes:  Bedtime, Colors, Contrasts, Opposites, Sheep, Vocabulary

StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1This material was given the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal on March 10th, 2015.  The picture book meets the StorytimeWOW Standards and has been selected for the PictureBookWOW collection.  Read the Storytime section below for details on why it was selected.

Summary:  Page by colorful page, Where is the Green Sheep? introduces contrasting sheep with a many individual qualities, interests and talents.  But, the green one cannot be found.

th-9Review:  Where is the Green Sheep? is a delightful read aloud picture book that introduces kids to many happy sheep of contrasting colors and interests. Judy Horacek created her two-dimensional cast of appealing animals with colored pens and watercolor on hot-press paper.  The book is enjoyable and will work well in group storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers.  The ending also makes it a good choice for bedtime.

Storytime: Where is the Green Sheep? received the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal because it meets the following StorytimeWOW Standards:

  1. Dynamic writing and universal appeal.  This joyful celebration of individuality and life is undeniable fun.
  2. A strong writing/illustrating relationship is evident.  The story could not work without the pictures and vice versa.
  3. This book brims over with the “WOW” factor (which means children find it enjoyable).  The hook installs a sense of anticipation that carries through until the end of the story.
  4. Where is the Green Sheep? is well-suited for repetition.
  5. The illustrations work well for groups.
  6. The takeaway of Where is the Green Sheep? is happiness and a zest for life.
  7. Colors and bedtime (plus sheep) are engaging and child-centered themes.
  8. The story keeps the listener’s attention and is free of squirmy moments.
  9. The interest level of this story, preK through 2, hits the storytime target.
  10. Readers will need to build-in participation in order to engage readers.

th-8Storytime Tips:
On each page, ask the group to describe what kinds of sheep they see.  Ask about the sheep’s colors and interests, then read the page.  When you are reading, let kids help you tell the story.  For example, when you reach each sheep’s description, such as “train sheep” or “rain sheep”, point to the train and rain and have children say the word.

Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness:  This story makes a happy bedtime book for parent/caregiver and child.  Use it to encourage children’s interests.  Ask, “which of these sheep is most like you?” and “why?”  Stretch children’s answers into conversations.  The ability to speak in sentences of up to 5 or 6 words is an indicator of young children’s kindergarten readiness.

Early Childhood Education and Development:  The following lists this book’s stand-out benefits across various early childhood education (ECE) and child development checklists.

1.  This book cultivates the following Pre-Reading Skills (see full list of pre- reading skills here):

  • Knowing the names of things (vocabulary)
  • Being able to hear the smaller sounds in words (phonological awareness)
  • Cultivates interest and enjoyment in books (print motivation)
  • Being able to describe things (narrative skills)

2.  This book provides opportunities to utilize the Early Literacy-building Parent Practices (see full list of parent practices here):

  • Talking with kids and telling them stories helps them learn to express themselves and conversations.
  • Reading together is “the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers” (Every Child Ready to Read).
  • Playing is a primary way in which children learn language (and this book is very playful).

3. This book builds children’s Kindergarten Readiness (see full checklist here).  Children well-prepared for kindergarten are able to:

  • th-10Listen to stories without interrupting
  • Recognize rhyming sounds
  • Pay attention for short periods of time to adult-directed tasks
  • Show understanding of general times of day
  • Speak understandably
  • Look at pictures and tell stories (about the various sheep!)
  • Identify rhyming words
  • Recognize some common sight words
  • Sort objects by color

4. This book follows Common Core Guidelines (see full list here):

  • Increase focus on children’s comprehension through dialogic reading.  Ask questions before, during and after telling stories.

5. This book supports young children’s “emerging mental abilities” by providing opportunities for “key experiences” that strengthen and broaden these abilities (see full list here):

  • Using Language (describing objects verbally, naming and expressing feelings, listening to others describe things, listening to stories, making up stories)
  • Representing (imitating actions, relating pictures to real places and things, role-playing, pretending)
  • Classification (noticing and describing how things are the same and how they are different)
  • Seriation (comparing:  which is wider/thinner, bigger/smaller, nearer/farther, etc…)
  • Temporal Relations (starting and stopping on signal, using conventional time units: day/night, understanding the order of events – beginning/middle/end)
  • Spatial Relations (interpreting representation of spatial relations in drawings and pictures, describing the positions of things and relative distances: near/far, above/below, etc…)

th-11Significance:  According to Mem Fox (at memfox.com), Where is the Green Sheep? is her second most famous book, after Possum Magic. She writes, “Children have been known to receive it up to three times on their third birthdays which is great for Judy and me, but puzzling, to say the least, for the children.”

Read-alikes:  Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill and Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell are similarly joyful books about animals for toddlers and preschoolers.

Links:  Author’s Website  Scholastic   Amazon  

Awards:  2005 ALA Notable Children’s Book winner, Horn Book Fanfare List, School Library Journal Top 100 Picture Books

Other Reviews:  Goodreads   School Library Journal

I chose to review this picture book because I was hooked by the story’s title and the happy spirit of the cover illustration.

3Make Reading More Fun

Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!