Shearing Time, by Allison Paterson & Shane McGrath

I love sharing time!
It’s the best time of the year.

It’s shearing time, and it’s all hands on deck to get the job done. From mustering sheep, to drafting out the ewes, to the actual shearing, keeping the shed clean, sorting the wool and, of course, keeping everybody fed, there’s a lot to be done.

Shearing Time is both a celebration of this time of year for youngsters who know and loev farming, and an explanation of it for those who may be less familiar. following the events of one day of shearing – with promise of more days to come – from the perspective of a child who helps her parents and the shearers.

With realistic-styled digital and ink illustrations, and back of book notes and glossary, a useful insight into farming life.

Shearing Time, by Allison Paterson & Shane McGrath
Big Sky Publishing, 2017
ISBN 9781925520095

Mrs Dog, by Janeen Brian & Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

‘Leave it, Mrs Dog,’ called Tall One.
‘It’s too small and weak to live.’
But Mrs Dog carried the little Woolly-Head home to the Big Kennel.

Mrs Dog is getting too old to round up sheep, but when she finds a tiny orphaned lamb, she is determined to help him. She takes him home, keeps him warm and tries to teach him all that she knows. Baa-rah does his best to do the things Mrs Dog teaches him, and one day, when it is Mrs DOg who needs help, Baa-Rah saves the day.

Mrs Dog is an adorable picture book story about an unlikely friendship between a dog and a sheep, elderly and very young. Children will love not just the events of the story, but the use of language, with Mrs Dog’s terminology for sheep being Woolly-Heads, the humans called Tall Ones and so on. The illustrations, in soft colours and with loads of detail, capture farm life and the expressions of the animals. A wonderful touch is that while the humans do lend a helping hand, they are barely there in the illustrations, allowing the bond between animals to be highlighted.

A lovely picture book.

Mrs Dog, by Janeen Brian & Marjorie Crosby-Fairall
Five Mile, 2016
ISBN 9781760066451

Sheep on a Beach, by P. Crumble & Danielle McDonald

Sheep on a beach.
Umbrella up, towel underneath.

It’s a hot summer’s day and Sheep suddenly finds himself on the beach. Luckily, with a little help from a friendly crab he soon has an umbrella, a towel, even an esky full of cold treats. Is thsi really happening, or is Sheep still the paddock dreaming about the beach?

Sheep on a Beach is a funny, simple celebration of the beach, using cumulative text to tell of Sheep’s adventures on the beach. Because it is cumulative, even very young children will be able to join in, soon recognising the pattern.

The bright digital illustrations are full of fun and details which youngsters will enjoy exploring, The crab is a key character, though he isn’t mentioned in the text and his role seems initially incidental.

Perfect for summertime reading Sheep on a Beach is packed full of giggles.

Sheep on a Beach

Sheep on a Beach, by P. Crumble & Danielle McDonald
Scholastic, 2012
ISBN 9781742833217

Available from good bookstores pr online.

Pete the Sheep, by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley

‘That sheep-sheep is nothing but a troublemaker!’ yelled Ratso.
‘He has to go!’ cried Big Bob.
‘Too right!’ shouted Bungo, who never said much.
‘If Pete goes, I go!’ said Shaun.
‘That suits us fine!’ yelled the other shearers.

The new shearer, Shaun, doesn’t have a sheepdog, like the other shearers do. Instead he has a sheep-sheep, Pete. And Pete the Sheep is nor ordinary sheep. He wins over the sheep, but not the dogs or the other shearers. And soon Shaun and Pete are out work – until Pete has an idea.

Pete the Sheep is a hilarious book, with a funny storyline and comic illustrations which will have readers of any age giggling. First published in 2004, it has been rereleased in a sturdy hardcover edition.

From the award-winning team who created the bestselling Diary of a Wombat, Pete the Sheep is a must have book.

Pete the Sheep, by Jackie French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley
This edition Angus and Robertson, 2008

The paperback edition of Pete the Sheep is available from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.