When Sheep Cannot Sleep: The Counting Book

I’m currently taking a graduate class on picture books, and we are repeatedly studying this book by Satoshi Kitamura, coming back to it over and over and over again for several elements of picture book design. So I thought I’d highlight it here as a great example of imaginative storytelling, surreal illustrations with many hidden elements that encourage repeated readings and unique artistic style.

Published in 1986, When Sheep Cannot Sleep: The Counting Book has an ironic premise that stands strong today: Woolly, an insomniac sheep, is only able to fall asleep when he counts sheep. Cleverly hidden in the illustrations are items to count, up to twenty-two, and the last page shows a chart of these.


About AnEducationInBooks

Wendy BooydeGraaff is the author of Salad Pie, a children's picture book published by Ripple Grove Press. Her work has been published in Emrys Journal Online, The Emerson Review, Jellyfish Review, Bending Genres, SmokeLong Quarterly and Leopardskin & Limes, and is forthcoming in NOON. Read more work at wendybooydegraaff.com or find her on Twitter @BooyTweets.
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