the eleventh sheep, by Kyle Mewburn & Claire Richards

When Sian can’t sleep, she likes to count sheep.
From one to ten, then start again.
The Eleventh Sheep waits, every night. Waits, unwanted, just out of sight.

Sian, a young girl, counts sheep to help her get to sleep. She counts from one to ten while the poor old eleventh sheep waits patiently just out of sight for her to count just one more. Then one night the eleventh sheep can wait no longer. It leaps, unbidden. As Sian has already fallen asleep, the eleventh sheep falls ‘out of her dream and onto her bed’. Together Sian and the eleventh sheep play and adventure. And every night she sleeps cuddled up to the eleventh sheep. It becomes clear that the eleventh sheep is not completely happy. Between them, Sian and the eleventh sheep to find a way to put things right.

Getting to sleep can be a tricky thing sometimes. There are all sorts of strategies employed to facilitate sleep, but one of the most well-known must be counting sheep. Kyle Mewburn has delivered a simple and fun text that invites children to take a leap of faith, just as the sheep do in Sian’s imaginings. Claire Richard’s colourful illustrations are warm and friendly. Sian recognises that although she can now sleep without counting sheep, her companion is not as content. There is a gentle lesson here about how what we do can affect others, even inadvertently. But mostly, it’s a fun story, with some counting opportunities, and a little twist at the end. The Eleventh Sheep is a square format hardback. Recommended for preschoolers.

The Eleventh Sheep, Kyle Mewburn Claire Richards
Scholastic 2008
ISBN: 9781741691337