Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration - Book Thirty-Nine

I have a tendency to gravitate towards people who are different, and in films and books I find myself cheering on the character who dares to be unusual, who is proud of the fact that he or she is not one of the flock. In this book you will meet a sheep who refuses to behave like your average follow-the-leader sheep. She wants more out of life; she wants adventure, and she has the courage to be the kind of sheep that she wants to be.
Brave Charlotte (New York Times Best Illustrated Books (Awards))Anu Stohner
Illustrated by Henrike Wilson
Picture Book
Ages 4 to 8
Bloomsbury, 2005, 1-58234-690-9
Right from the start Charlotte is not like the other sheep. Instead of standing in the field in a docile sheep-like manner, Charlotte likes to climb trees, go for swims in the river, climb mountains, and explore the countryside. The other sheep, Jack the sheepdog, and the shepherd all think that  her behavior is very odd, and they all wish that she would settle down and behave like a proper sheep.
   Then one day the shepherd falls down and breaks his leg. Poor Jack doesn’t know what to do, and the older sheep cannot bring themselves to make the long and dangerous journey to the farmer’s house to get help. Of course Charlotte doesn't have these reservations at all. She sees nothing wrong with going to get help even if  “a sheep has never gone to the valley alone.”
   So Charlotte sets off on her long trip, and she even manages to get a lift along the way, for Charlotte is a very special sheep indeed.
   This wonderful picture book beautifully shows the reader that there is nothing wrong with being different, nor is there anything wrong with having dreams and being adventurous. Often it is those of us who have the courage to be true to ourselves who end up making a difference in the world, just as Charlotte does when she sets of on her courageous mission. Spare and yet meaningful paintings compliment the text to make this is winning and thought-provoking book.

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