written by Susanna Leonard Hill
illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Walker & Company
Hardcover PB 32p
Whenever Ava can’t sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it’s the sheep that are getting tired – until they finally quit! The sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, but it might not be as easy as they thought…
In this hilarious take on a familiar bedtime ritual, readers will be charmed by Ava and her fluffy friends.
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When Ava’s busy mind won’t let her fall asleep, her mother tells her to try counting sheep, marking the last moment of convention in Hill and Wohnoutka’s refreshing bedtime story. Alas, as she counts sheep jumping over a fence, Ava’s mind is so busy with “ideas and questions, thoughts of today, and plans for tomorrow” that the sheep themselves become exhausted and decide to quit, leaving Ava wondering how she will ever get to sleep. Being compassionate, if pooped, the sheep promise to find a replacement. A veritable menagerie of animals on following pages attempt to jump over the fence and send Ava into dreamland, but horses are too distracting, pigs too slow, chickens too ridiculous and “the cows were a complete disaster.” The acrylic illustrations make the most of the foolishness, placing the animals in ever-more-ridiculous situations. After meeting failure with hippos, buffalo and others, Ava charms the sheep with her appreciation of their efforts, and they return to work. “You can count on us,” they assure her, concluding a gently humorous book that families will undoubtedly come to count on as well.