Melissa Sweet’s illustrations are perfect for this fun twist on the wolf in sheep’s clothing tale.
Picture book, fiction
Interest level: Pre-K through elementary school
4 out of 5 stars
Baabwaa and Wooliam are two sheep who like their rather boring life, where Baabwaa knits and Wooliam reads. One day, after reading a pirate book, Wooliam proposes they go on an adventure. The two friends set off to find explore their walled-in pasture. The only thing they find however, is that they are now hungry.
While munching on some grass, they are approached by another strange looking sheep, with a long tail, sharp snout, a filthy wool coat, and poor dental hygiene. Wooliam, who had read a book about a wolf in sheep’s clothing, recognizes the wolf and tells Baabwaa to run. The wolf gives up the chase as he ponders that Wooliam has read a book about him.
Wooliam realizes the wolf does not know how to read, and offers to teach him. Baabwaa is going to knit him a new coat to replace the ugly one he is wearing. Thus begins a new friendship.
What makes this friendship story different from others is that the wolf never fully gives up his natural tendency to chase sheep. In the middle of reading lessons, he would suddenly chase the two sheep around the field. Wooliam was annoyed by the behavior, but Baabwaa understood that “he is just following his nature. Besides, all that reading and knitting has taken its toll. We can use the exercise.” Sure enough, if you examine Melissa Sweet’s illustrations, the once very fluffy sheep are now much more svelte!
The book ends with Baabwaa and Wooliam discussing how they did indeed find a wonderful adventure, and the wolf asks them to keep it down because he is trying to read. Althogether a very smile-inducing twist on wolf in sheep clothing stories.
Melissa Sweet’s watercolor, gouache, and mixed media illustrations are a perfect fit for the whimsical tone of the story, and Baabwaa and Wooliam are absolutely adorable. This would make a fun read-aloud, or could be used in a lesson that examines different versions of the big bad wolf story.
Baabwaa & Wooliam
by David Eliott; illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Candlewick Press, 2017