When Joe goes to stay with his aunt and uncle on their farm he is more than a little afraid of all the different animals. But with all the bravado he can muster he asserts fiercely, “I’m not scared!”. Only when Uncle Will needs his help to deliver a lamb in the middle of the night can Joe finally acknowledge his fears. And only when he sees the little creature, more vulnerable and fearful than he is, is he able to overcome them. When Mum and Dad return Joe is proud to show off his baby lamb, and his new-found confidence! Children will identify and sympathise with Joe’s secret fears in this warm and tender portrayal of a small boy’s first experience of staying away from Mum and Dad.
From School Library Journal
reS-Gr 1-Everything is strange on his uncle and aunt’s farm where Joe must stay for the weekend while his parents visit his grandmother in the hospital. The preschooler is understandably fearful, but he tries his best to be brave. The first day brings a barrage of new and scary situations: cows with big horns, a curious dog, noisy geese, muddy pigs, and a clumsy sheep that knocks him over. The plot moves gracefully into a realistic situation when Joe offers comfort to an animal more frightened than he: “`Don’t be scared, sheep,’ he whispered,” and things begin to turn around for this child. In clear prose, Whybrow develops this simple story with insight, honesty, and warm humor. Birmingham’s high-quality, chalk-pastel illustrations fill the large pages with color and detail. The pictures capture emotions well, helping children identify with Joe’s situation. By story’s end, his reassurance to his mother, nervous about feeding the new lamb, may bring a smile to an anxious child: “Don’t be scared. Just reach out and talk to him-he won’t hurt you.” A sweet, gentle story to share with children on laps or in storytimes.
Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.