Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Adventurous Lamb

Jonathan is a happy little lamb who lives in a meadow where his shepherd cares for him and the other sheep in his flock. But in The Adventurous Lamb by Cathie Denney, Jonathan learns it can be very dangerous to leave the meadow and disobey the Shepherd.

Being a boisterous little lamb, Jonathan is full of energy. When he runs into the shepherd and nearly knocks him down, Jonathan is afraid he will be mad, but the shepherd smiles and urges the little lamb to be careful. A little while later, Jonathan spies a cautious bunny near the long grass. Jonathan wants to play, but the bunny says he has to go hide so he can stay safe, and runs away. Our little lamb tries to find his new friend but the grass entangles him. The shepherd has been watching and extracts Jonathan with a mild reprimand to stay in the meadow where he can see the lamb.

Another misadventure lands Jonathan in the middle of a pond, unable to swim back to shore. Again, the shepherd rescues him, scolding the lamb gently. Jonathan decides leaving the meadow could be dangerous, so he lays down in the sun to dry off and rest. When he wakes up, a bright blue butterfly named Felicity is nearby and wants to be friends with Jonathan. Felicity urges the lamb to follow her as they explore flowers, stones, leaves, and more. Before he knows it, Felicity has led Jonathan away from the safety of the meadow and to a rocky area with little grass. Then, as he's trying to find his way back to the meadow, Jonathan slips and tumbles down the hill, hurting his leg. Frightened, he wonders if he'll ever get back to the meadow and the shepherd.

Darkness closes in and Jonathan has almost given up hope of returning to the meadow when he hears the comforting voice of the shepherd calling his name. He bleats out and the shepherd rescues him one last time. Jonathan vows to never stray from the Shepherd and meadow again.

What I Like: Where to start? There's so much I love! While it's a slim book, it's very word heavy and a great book for a kiddo who needs a bit meatier story, but isn't ready to give up pictures. There are so many opportunities to stop and talk about what's going on in the story, too, where you can discuss whether Jonathan makes good decisions.

The pictures are wonderful pastels that are appropriate for the Easter season (who can resist a story about a lamb at Easter-time?) While not an Easter story, this would be a great book to read around this time of year.

What I Dislike: Not so much a dislike as a caution. There is no "Christian" content per se in the book, however the story is written as a parable. The shepherd is referred to throughout with a little "s" until the last page, when it is pretty obvious the author is referring to Jesus as our Shepherd. I strongly urge any parent reading this with his or her child to discuss the similarities in obeying their parents as well as God.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: No age listed, but I'd say 4 - 7.

Publisher Info: Tate Publishing, 2012; ISBN: 978-1-61862-326-3; Paperback, 24 pgs., $8.99

Buy it at for $8.99, or for Kindle for $6.39.

Special Info: While the shepherd in the book is not referred to as Jesus, the characteristics in the images shown of his face are quite similar to popular images of Christ.

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