Counting Sheep: A Bedtime Adventure! by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell

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Counting Sheep: A Bedtime Adventure! by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell

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Buy Counting Sheep: A Bedtime Adventure! by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Counting some cheeky sheep leads Tom on an exciting, rather than calming, bedtime adventure. Brilliant rhymes, they'll want it again and again, but you won't mind reading it to them.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1847804808

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Tom is supposed to be asleep. He’s been tucked up in bed for ages, so long in fact that it’s now mum and dad’s time to go to sleep, but he’s still wide awake. Just count some sheep, his mum says finally. But what should be a calming, boring, wind down activity that would put any sane person to sleep does not work for Tom. Because when the sheep come, they steal him off for a bedtime adventure.

Told in bouncy, perfectly placed rhyme, this is a ridiculously fun book for any time. In fact, it might be better for anytime except bed time for some children, because it allows for a lot of interaction. This is no ordinary counting book, because the numbers don’t come sequentially (and they go way past 1 to 10) but a counting book it still is, because with every new animal or creature who comes into the story, there’s a tally on the page. Of course I had to count each time to check I could see them all. Are the 12 wolves all there? The 36 goats? How about the 88 ghosts? I think so, but you might want to count and check for yourself. And counting to 88 is hardly a relaxing bedtime activity for the youngest minds.

That brings me on to the rather lovely way this book spans age groups and stages of development. The rhymes make it perfect for reading aloud:

The wind grew sharper, Tom grew colder
Penguins pecked him on the shoulder

And so you can have it as a story that just is, but older children can also play ‘find the animals', then count them up, and read it to themselves even with less common words like 'python' and 'gangplank' cropping up. Plus there are tips on how to count built into the text to help little brains keep track of big numbers:

Counting them by twos and fours
Tom dodged noses, teeth and claws

There’s so much to look at in the pictures, you don’t even need the words at times. The illustrations are quite classic in design. This is a re-release which makes sense, as the pictures work perfectly now, but would also have been right for the 90s when it first came out, or even the 80s. So it’s nice for parents who want books that look the like ones they used to read rather than some of the overly bright, comic style ones that often seem to dominate the market nowadays.

Not every child can have such adventures while trying to get to sleep, but the board games in the front and back covers at least let them play along during daylight hours, a nice final touch to the book.

Overall, this is another excellent rhyming tale that will grow with them, or work for younger and older siblings at the same time. With the feel of several books in one, I adored it, and I’m sure you will too.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

Where's Tim's Ted? It's Time for Bed! by Ian Whybrow and Russell Ayto would go well with this one: another bed time adventure and it's rhyme-a-licious.

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Buy Counting Sheep: A Bedtime Adventure! by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Counting Sheep: A Bedtime Adventure! by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Counting Sheep: A Bedtime Adventure! by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Counting Sheep: A Bedtime Adventure! by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell at Amazon.com.

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