Sheep Won't Sleep: Counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s

illus. by Nina Cuneo. 32p. Holiday House. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823437016.
Gr 1–3—When Clarissa can't sleep, she tries counting sheep—but as the eponymous sheep appear in her bedroom, they encourage Clarissa to redouble her efforts by counting alpacas by twos, llamas by fives, and yaks by tens, until 100 colorful animals are crowded into her bedroom. Recognizing that she will never get to sleep with the noise and the smell, she decides to subtract and unwind them into a giant ball of yarn, then knits them into an afghan, which finally helps her to fall fast asleep. Cuneo's pen-and-digital-ink artwork cleverly links the mathematical principles of skip counting to the colors and patterns of knitting using niche vocabulary such as "Fair Isles," "argyle," and "cables" as well as the brightly colored and patterned animals that fill the pages. The illustrations depict humorous details, such as a sheep wearing a lampshade on its head, and are characterized primarily by blocks of solid color rather than texture or line.
VERDICT This story provides an entertaining and humorous introduction to skip counting suitable for early elementary students. It will certainly be enjoyed by animal lovers, insomniacs, and anyone familiar with the conspicuous amount of math involved in knitting.

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