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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - Sleepy Sheepy and the Sheepover

The dynamic duo of Lucy Ruth Cummings and Pete Oswald teamed up to create the touchingly funny picture book sequel, Sleepy Sheepy and the Sheepover, which released last week.

Author photo of Lucy Ruth Cummings.

Lucy Ruth Cummins is an author and illustrator who made her critically acclaimed author-illustrator debut in 2016 with her picture book A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals. When she's not writing or illustrating books, Lucy is an executive art director of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. She grew up in Cortland, New York, and she now lives with her little family in Brooklyn, New York.

Collage of 10 books written or illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummings.

She is the author/illustrator of Our Pool (2023), Vampenguin (2021), and Stumpkin (2018). The author of Sleepy Sheepy, illustrated by Pete Oswald (2023). And the illustrator of many books, including Love Grows by Ruth Spiro (2023), Sylvie by Jean Reidy (2022), Truman by Jean Reidy (2019), and The Love Letter by Anika Aldamuy Denise (2019), and This is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins (2017). 

Illustrator photo of Pete Oswald

Pete Oswald is a #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator and an Annie Award-nominated animation production designer best known for The Angry Birds Movie film franchise and Oscar® Nominated ParaNorman, in addition to multiple animated studio films. He is also a children's book author and illustrator, and painter. He lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife and three sons.

Collage of 9 of the books written and illustrated by Pete Oswald.

Pete is the author/illustrator of The Noise Inside Boys (2023) and the ilustrator of numerous books, including Flat Cat by Tara Lazar (2023) and the New York Times bestselling picture books The Big Cheese (2023), The Sour Grape (2022), The Smart Cookie (2021), The Couch Potato (2020), The Good Egg (2019), The Cool Bean (2019), and The Bad Seed (2017), written by Jory John. 

Book cover - a the lamb wearing a backpack overflowing with items behind him, holding the handle of his suffed suitcase and a blanket.

Sleepy Sheepy and the Sheepover

Author: Lucy Ruth Cummings

Illustrator: Pete Oswald

Publisher: Flamingo Books/Penguin Young Readers (2024)

Ages: 3-7

Fiction


Themes:

Sleepovers, grandparents, and separation anxiety.


Synopsis:

It's time for Sleepy Sheepy's very first sheepover! But when it's time for bed, Sleepy Sheepy CANNOT SLEEPY! You see, his blankets scratch, and his pj's don't match! Sleepy Sheepy...misses his home! Will Grammy and Grampy ever get their favorite little sheep to sleep?


From acclaimed author Lucy Ruth Cummins and brought to life by New York Times bestselling illustrator Pete Oswald (The Bad Seed, The Good Egg, The Smart Cookie, The Sour Grape), Sleepy Sheepy and the Sheepover is a fun and funny bedtime read-aloud that will appeal to any child who has felt a bit unsure at their first sleepover.


Opening Lines:

It was finally THE BIG DAY.

Or rather - THE BIG NIGHT?

It was time....

for Sleepy Sheepy's...

very first...

SHEEP-OVER!


What I LOVED about this book:

From a great spread of bouncing on the bed to a double spread closeup of Sleepy Sheepy's face and exclamation of "SHEEP-OVER!" the little lamb's excitement for a first ever sleepover is palpable. I love Sleepy Sheepy's packing of necessities for one night. It's such a great image, no wonder it ended up as the cover.

Internal spread - on the left, 3 spot illustrations of a  young lamb stacking stuff in a suitcase, trying to squash it closed. On the right, the lamb wearing a backpack overflowing with items behind him, holding the handle of his suffed suitcase and a blanket.

Text © Lucy Ruth Cummings 2024. Image © Pete Oswald, 2024.

Sleep Sheepy's initial excitement to have "his two favorite folks, all to himself!" is quickly squashed when Ma and Pa say goodnight and drive away. Leaving Sleepy Sheepy feeling ...

Internal spread - close-up image of Sleepy Sheepy biting lip and about to cry.

Text © Lucy Ruth Cummings 2024. Image © Pete Oswald, 2024.


But he couldn't explain why. Except that everything is wrong. His blankets scratch, his PJs don’t match and "his tummy got twisty, and his eyes got misty." Not only did he miss home, but he couldn't sleep! Grandparents to the rescue! Grampy makes cookies and Grammy read Goodnight Mooo'n (with a cow on the cover!)

Internal spread - Upper left Grampy taking cookies out of the oven. Bottom left, the book ocver fo Moodnight Moo'n. On right, Grammy handing book to little lamb.

Text © Lucy Ruth Cummings 2024. Image © Pete Oswald, 2024.


Soon they have the perfect sheep-over party going and Sleepy Sheepy starts to relax and "before he knew it...." I love that Pete Oswald's softly colored illustrations are packed with humor, from Grampy's international tater collection to some of the items Sleepy Sheepy packs as necessities - a spatula, sports equipment, and a star. The more you look, the more fun things you find. And they combine perfectly with Lucy Ruth Cumming's sparse text, fun word play, and sprinkling of rhyme, to create a wonderful lighthearted and touching intergenerational book. Perfect for little kids embarking on their own first sleepovers and readers looking for a sweet bedtime book.


Resources:

Photo of a paper bag sheep puppet by Leanne Guenther.
  • make your own sheep puppet or a puppet for all three characters and have your own sheep-over party.

  • what special things would you pack for a sleepover? Would it be different if you were staying at a friend's or a family member's (grandparents or cousins) house?


  • if you have stayed the night away from home, what helped you to feel more comfortable?

Comments


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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