Written and Illustrated by Pija Lindenbaum
R&S Books, 2002
Bridget is not at home.
For several days now, she has been living in a house called the Hotel.
The plot in a nutshell: A girl rescues some sheep.
Bridget’s family is on a beach vacation, but she has no interest in going swimming. She goes to the beach to dig in the sand, which she enjoys. Looking out at the water, she sees a little island covered with what looks like clouds. Curious, she wades out to the island to discover that the clouds are sheep and they are hot and dehydrated. She dips them in the water and finds some shade for them to rest in, but when they get up again, she notices that they are walking strangely. She milks them so that they can walk normally again. The sheep dig in the sand, looking for food, but there’s not much on the little island. Bridget points to the mainland and suggests that they swim over there, but they are afraid of going in the water. She teaches them to swim and they all go back to the mainland, where she shears their wool to help them stay cool in the summer sun and gives them some clothes in case it gets cold. Then she says goodbye to the sheep and returns to her parents for the last day of their vacation.
This is the second of Swedish author/illustrator Pija Lindenbaum’s three books about Bridget meeting a group of animals. (It was wolves in the first book and moose in the third.) The story starts simply enough, with a little girl who is bored on vacation with her parents at a hotel where there are no other children and not much for kids to do. When she discovers the sheep on the little island, though, the story starts to get a little weird and becomes a lot less relatable. From that point on, the story just feels like a framework for showing us all the odd behavior of the sheep. At times, I wondered if Bridget wasn’t imagining the whole thing to keep herself occupied while she was bored. The artwork is cute and I like the way the funny little sheep are drawn, but much of the rest of the story felt deliberately quirky without much of a purpose. Maybe I would appreciate it more if I had read the first book and had a better understanding of the character. I just felt like I was missing something.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that the quickest way to pass the time when you’re stuck somewhere you don’t want to be is to find a fun project and throw yourself into it.