Saturday, August 14, 2010


Animal lovers will enjoy Lass, a gentle tale of how one rancher learned more about God through his sheepdog. Based on Phillip Keller's bestselling, biographical Lessons from a Sheepdog, the picture book by Roland Gebauer begins with Keller deciding he's going to raise sheep. In his search for a good sheepdog, he comes across a border collie named Lassie who is angry and vicious. Although she seems a strange choice, Keller is drawn to her. He thinks the dog just needs a second chance. And with a new chance comes a new name: Lass.

At first, Lass growls and runs away from Keller, but slowly, he gains the dog's trust. Soon she's an excellent sheep dog and companion. Along the way, both Lass and Keller learn lessons. For example, one day Lass leaves the sheep and chases some crows.
"Lass always knew when Mr. Keller was disappointed. She felt guilty for her bad behavior and hung her head in shame as he scolded her for disobeying. Mr. Keller didn't enjoy disciplining Lass. It was a difficult time for both of them, but it had to be done. Lass had to be corrected so that next time she would remember to stay with the sheep."
Later, after Keller sends Lass on a particularly difficult task, he wonders:
"Am I willing to go where the Lord send me, no matter how hard it seems? Am I as happy and eager to obey God's commands as Lass is to carry out mine?"
The last two pages of the book offer discussion questions for children and their parents or teachers

What I Like: The illustrations by Cheri Bladholm are exquisite - loose and expressionistic, in rich tones. The story itself is well told, too, and although the lessons Keller learned from Lass are clear to readers, the book isn't preachy or boring. My 5 year old loves this story, and so do I.

What I Dislike:
Nothing. This book is exceptional.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 - 8, but this book might be a bit advanced for the average 4 year old. At the same time, children older than 8 are sure to like this book, too.

Publishing Info: Kregel, 2004; ISBN: 978-0825426940; hard back, $12.99

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Special Info: Check out our reviews of other books illustrated by Cheri Bladholm.

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