From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3?Set in Ireland, this poetic story follows the steps by which a sheep's woolly coat is transformed into cloth and sweaters. Similar to Tomie dePaola's Charlie Needs a Cloak (S&S, 1973), the narrative begins with a tribute to the sheep and goes on to the work of shearing, carding and spinning, weaving, and knitting. "Now the shearer comes around/to shave away their curly coats/and take the greasy wool to town/for use by nimble Ulster folk." Azarian's hand-colored woodcuts set strong figures of sheep and old-fashioned peasant folk in broad double-spread views. Periodic refrains, which reappear as an end poem, are each attractively framed in pictorial motifs. There's a rustic charm here, suggesting that the age-old process is quaint, a thing of long ago and far away. Some lines will baffle children either for pronunciation ("the hills of Derryveagh") or meaning ("...as rain fills the sky/Irish wit remains dry!"). The author includes suggestions for choral reading, adding a practicality to the book. This title is visually appealing, compensating somewhat for the esoteric pastiche of information.?Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5^-8. Hand-colored woodcuts lend the perfect Old World feel to this spirited musical rhyme set in the Irish countryside. Divided into four parts (one told by the shearer, another by the spinner, a third by the weaver, and the final one by the knitter), the poem explains the traditional process of making a wool garment. Knitting terms aren't always defined in the text or clarified in the pictures, but their use will provide teachers with great grist for the classroom. In fact, the book as a whole is best suited to group use; its rather complicated structure--each speaker's part is followed by a refrain in italics, with all the refrains gathered together at the close of the book--as well as its inherently musical rhythm are made to order for a large chorus. Millen's afterword, which explains the structure and how to use the text for singing in the round, would have been more helpful had it been made into a preface; however, with patient direction, the book offers some wonderful opportunities for fun and learning. Stephanie Zvirin