Baabwaa and Wooliam Written by David Elliott and Artwork by Melissa Sweet

[Review Copy Courtesy of My Public Library]

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Baabwaa & Wooliam is an adorable and hilarious picture book!

Baabwaa and Wooliam are two friends that live together in a sweet trailer on a nice bit of field. Wooliam is unique in that he likes to read. Baabwaa likes to knit — which the book points out is a practical hobby if you’re a sheep.

They’re pretty quiet and spend a lot of their time reading and knitting. It makes them happy. But one day after reading an adventure story, Wooliam decides that they need to go on an adventure, too.

So off they go.

Except there’s one problem. A rather large fence keeps them in. Because they’re sheep. And they live in a field.

They walk around, look for adventure, get distracted, eat some grass. You know how it is with talking, adventurous sheep that read and knit.

Then suddenly a really strange sheep approaches them. They chat up the sheep telling him that they’re looking for adventure. But, uh oh! The strange sheep is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing! Wooliam shouts to Baabwaa to run because he’s read about him in books.

Off they run with the wolf on their heels! Baabwaa is none too excited about this. But then the wolf stops chasing them and asks Wooliam to tell him more about the book where he read the bit about the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Wooliam, like a boss, pulls out a book and shows the wolf. Only problem — Wolf can’t read. And thus the questionable friendship begins. Wooliam starts to tutor Wolf in reading. Baabwaa starts to knit him a new coat.

The only real drawback is that occasionally Wolf will jump up and start to chase the sheep around the field. Baabwaa becomes my hero. She tells Wooliam that it really isn’t Wolf’s fault and they could stand the exercise. That’s a heck of a way to look at it, but hard to argue with.

So Wolf learns to read and the sheep get in shape. This friendship appears to hold, no one is injured or eaten, Baabway and Wooliam get their adventure, and the Wolf gets a nice sweater and discovers a love of reading. It’s a win-win story all around.

Sweet’s illustrations are charming, enchanting, and make it so easy to love this book from the moment you set eyes on the cover. Elliott and Sweet do an excellent job of creating characters we can all identify with and root for. Everyone gets to be both the sheep and the wolf in this story. It’s a fun way to practice empathizing with multiple perspectives.

The narration is spot on. The back and forth between narrating the story and narrating about the story is perfectly balanced for maximum humor. The plot is engrossing with some surprising twists and turns that make even seasoned readers wonder where this book is going to go. It is such an enjoyable read and will make you and your little ones laugh and think. It may even possibly inspire readers to risk being a little braver and a little kinder.

As a bonus, I really like that Baabwaa and Wooliam are friends. I’m in the process of encouraging my eldest son to have more female friends, and while there are some books out there that show male and female friendships, I’m always thrilled to find more. I’d love for there to be more Baabwaa & Wooliam books and to see more of these characters interact, especially with Baabwaa taking more of a lead in future adventures.

Baabwaa & Wooliam will make you crack up as it skillfully addresses themes of dangerous friendships, nature vs. nurture, literacy, personal growth, and adaptability. But really, those are the side benefits — first and foremost, it is a delightful and immensely entertaining picture book full of laughs and giggles.

Recommended Ages 4 to 8 Candlewick Press. September 2017. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-0763660741 Fiction.

This book is nominated for a Cybils Award in Fiction Picture Books. Have you nominated a book yet? You have until October 15th, 2017. I hope you will!  Click here to learn more. 

Where to Get it:

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Where Obtained:  I received a review copy from my fantastic library. No other compensation was received.  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.”

FTC Disclosures:  Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit.  It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage.  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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