Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski and Illustrated by Lee Harper

This book completely surprised me.  I checked it out from the library randomly.  To give a little background, going to the library with my son is a little chaotic.  He likes to run around and talk to people and isn’t all that interested in standing quietly next to me as I peruse through the books.  Fortunately, the librarians understand this to be true for children in general and in addition to the books filed neatly on the bookshelf, they have books on top of the bookshelves.  The books placed nicely on display are usually fantastic and it is really nice that they are so easily grabable as I try to keep an eye on my son and pick books that I think we might like.  This also means that I spend a lot of time judging books by either their 1) author 2) title or 3) their cover.

I judged Woolbur by the cover.  An idyllic cover of a sheep standing on top of a bucket (that is on top of a half barrel) with knitting needles in either hand, a serene and zen-like smile on his face, and his wool blowing in the wind.

This story is about a sheep named Woolbur who is different than all of the other sheep and because of it has a hard time fitting in.  He worries his parents, but his grandfather keeps saying not to worry.  Woolbur doesn’t want to stay with the herd, shear his wool, card his wool, spin his wool, dye his wool, or weave his wool like the other sheep do. Each time his parents confront him about not conforming with the group and how his way of doing things is unheard of, Woolbur responds with, “I know!  Isn’t it great?” He is sincere in his response.

Finally his parents have had enough and they tell Woolbur that he is a sheep and he will act like everyone else.  Woolbur is upset by this, but thinks of a way for him to do what his parents wish without compromising who he is.  So, instead of him conforming to the group, he gets the group to conform to him.  He teaches the other sheep to run with the dogs, to keep their wool long, to card their wool on their bodies, spin yarn, dye themselves, and to weave their forelocks.

It is a lovely story with the take home message of, “Being the change you wish to see in the world.”

What is so impressive is neither Woolbur or his parents are disrespectful of each other throughout the book.  There is nothing ugly or impolite about their behavior.  It is easy to identify with all of the characters and to see why both Woolbur and the parents feel the way they do.

Also, my son loves this book and we have read it at least 25 times.  I like the gentle reminder to parents not to worry when your child is different.  It promotes good behavior while being true to yourself.  A very difficult thing to do and yet this book does it so well.

This is an easy book to love.

Where Obtained:  Library.

FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” If you click on the link and purchase the book, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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