Cindy: Lynn is trying to teach me how to knit, but after reading Feeding the Sheep (Farrar, 2010) I’m glad that there are others whose knitting skills are more worthy than mine are of all that goes into making yarn. The cover drew me in, with the rosy cheeked girl being tickled by sheep eating out of her hands and she amused me throughout the story. Schubert spins the tale of how sheep are fed and sheared, the wool is washed, dried, carded, and spun, and the yarn is dyed and knitted into a sweater. The simple text is enhanced by Andrea U’Ren’s delightful watercolor and ink illustrations that show the young girl imitating her mother’s work in fun ways–for instance, when the mom is carding the wool the daughter is brushing her dog’s belly. If I have grandchildren someday, please remind me to think twice about dyeing dark blue yarn with them.
Lynn: Dyeing yarn dark blue?? Cindy, let me remind you of how much mess our focus group can make just dying Easter eggs! EEKS! Anyway – this lovely quiet book beautifully connects young readers to a what might be an eye-opening concept. Many children have simply never realized how a sweater is created. Schubert’s lovely text opens the door to their understanding with U’Ren’s wonderful illustrations demonstrating the process. I LOVE this approach as it avoids a dull textbook-y exposition while still clearly conveying the information. The repeating refrain, “What are you doing?” ties the story together in such an authentic way too. I wasn’t sure what our focus group would think but they were fascinated and we ended up having a wonderful conversation about what we had read. This is best as a small group or lap book so that everyone can see the richness of the information provided through the illustrations.