Sleepy Sheepy and the Sheepover

Penguin/Flamingo. Feb. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593465943.
Toddler-PreS–With humor that can only be dubbed fluffy and terrific bouncy rhymes, this warm bedtime story of a “sheep-over” will be a comfort for young children to hear before or during their own first overnight at a beloved relative’s house. The hero of the first book, Sleepy Sheepy, is excited to pack for his first sleepover at his grandparents’ home; but once he is there, he finds nothing feels quite right, from the scratchy sheets to his grampy’s potato collection. Grammy and Grampy Sheepy soon address their grandson’s homesickness by staying by his side and surrounding him with familiar comforts, like reading his pa’s favorite bedtime story. Cummins and Oswald astutely frame Sheepy’s evolving feelings in a relatable manner, showing his mood steadily change from delight to anxiety, from sadness to an ease grounded in the young one’s understanding that he is loved. After such a swirl of evening activities, tuckered out Sheepy finally lies down, surrounded by soft pastel colors. Oswald’s cartoon-like illustrative style features wonky shapes that bubble across the pages, mimicking the sheep’s bumpy wool and highlighting his wide-eyed expressions, while light purples, golds, and blues express an atmospheric serenity that Sheepy and readers will need.
VERDICT With its strong story and ebullient illustrations, this story can help address readers’ personal apprehension about sleepovers or spark discussion in a preschool setting about recognizing and easing homesickness.

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