Since I have a pile of children's books that will be due back at the library soon, today is another book review day. I ran across this title in the book review section of the Fall 2008 issue of Spin-Off.
One Little Lamb (by Elaine Greenstein, Viking, 2004) is a picture book for the young child. How young? Apparently the critics disagree. The book jacket says "ages 1 and up." Children's Literature says "ages 3 and up," and School Library Journal says "preschool." Booklist says "preschool to age 1." I suppose it depends on the child and how the reader shares the book with the child. A first grader should be able to read this book independently.
The book's format is small (about 7x7"), which makes me want to put it in the hands of a younger child. The front end papers show some frolicking sheep. There are just a few words on the left side of each page spread, paired with an illustration on the right side. We start with a lamb and the farm she lives on, and then proceed to the phases of fiber preparation. Most are described in just a few, simple words ("wool is cut," "cleaned and combed," "spin into yarn," "dip into dye"). By the end of the book, a pair of cheerful green-and-red-striped mittens has been knit for the child who visits the lambs. The book closes with back end papers that show the mittens again.
I would give this book to a one- or two-year-old child in a fiber family. The reader could show the child her fiber paraphernalia (balls of yarn, spinning wheel, knitting needles, roving), and the child might make the connection. The illustrations are simple, yet bright and cheerful. It's a sweet book. My kids (at 4 and 6) are a bit old for it, so I won't be purchasing a copy just now. If you make a handknit gift for a baby, this would be a great companion piece.
Hmmm, do I need to knit any baby gifts anytime soon?