Carmela Snelbaker has written a children’s book in verse honoring the role of sheep throughout history while also offering fun facts about wool.
If nothing else, readers will gain some respect for how much sheep contribute to our lives in unexpected ways. For example, their wool lines the inside of a baseball. “Our wool just may have helped a few/ baseball heroes raise the score/ for 220 years of wool/ surround the baseball core,” Snelbaker writes. A picture accompanying the verse shows a cute cartoon sheep standing in front of a baseball cut in half. The sheep holds a placard that reads: “Yep, That’s [sic] our wool In [sic] there!”
Despite some interesting facts and the book’s playful tone, Snelbaker misses the mark. The verse doesn’t always work as she jam-packs information into a few lines, resorting to rhyming words that are too difficult for a children’s book. (For example: “Now a sheep is never boastful,/ so I tell this for information only./ My ancestors grazed at the White House/ without any need for a ceremony.” Or: “reusable,/ renewable,/ biodegradable too,/ natural UV protection./ This makes us a great green/ product for you.”) The author includes a glossary at the end of the book to define difficult words, such as “ancestors” and “UV protection,” but even children who can read will have lost interest long before then.
In the last few pages, the author writes in simple sentences about her own lamb, Moses, and reproduces family photos of her pets. If Snelbaker had adopted a similar straightforward style throughout the rest of the book, she might have connected with her young readers and hit this woolly baseball out of the park.
Also available as an ebook.