LOUIS I King of the Sheep, book review

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LOUIS I king of the sheep
Written & Illustrated by Olivier Tallec
Published by Enchanted Lion Books

What would you do if a crown landed at your feet? There’s a good chance you would pick it up and put it on, just to see how it looked and felt. With a crown on his head, Louis the sheep knows just what kind of king he would be: regal, erudite, and all powerful. He feels perfectly suited to the royal life, but perhaps he shouldn’t get too comfortable, since winds have a way of blowing…

 

LOUIS, the humble sheep, stands alone on the top of a windy hill, while others graze in the calm, protected valley below. The wind produces a crown, blue in colour. Louis, uncertain of it at first, picks it up and places it onto his head. All of a sudden, Louise the sheep, can stand on two legs. His back is straighter and his chin lifted up. And so it was one windy day that Louise the sheep thereby became LOUIS I, King of the Sheep! He goes on an imaginative trip, and sources a scepter, a throne, a grand king’s bed and addresses his people as a good king should. As self-imposed power propels him to self-imposed greatness, his once sheep paddock surrounds become a grand kingdom of pleasure, importance and command. But … power is a dangerous thing.

LOUIS I is a tale of power and greatness that is not earned, but given, accidentally as it would happen. As the story unfolds, Louis takes his self-imposed power too far and banishes all those who do not look like him from his kingdom—a dark and sinister twist in the story. But then, upon another windy day … Louis I, King of the Sheep, becomes the sheep once again…

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Author and Illustrator, Olivier Tallec, has created a book of mammoth textual depth as well as captivating illustrations that complements the mood, humour and the seriousness of the story. When I first read through the story, I was enchanted by the elaborate fantasy of the fairytale-like King that was being woven into the first part of the story, but then became horrified when Louis I, the King of Sheep, segregated the fold according to wool colour. Welcome to the high effective and perfectly placed plot twist the evokes emotion from the deepest part of your being! My rescuing and compassionate self wanted to shout out at him, “You can’t do that—we are all the same! That is a hideous thing to do!” And I wanted to cry as I related it to our human race. At first, I didn’t want to write a review about the story because it had deeply affected me as I affiliated it with racism. But now, I applaud Olivier Tallec. By manipulating LOUIS I, King of the Sheep, to drive out the sheep that did not look like him, he opens eyes to how people can be judged, if it is allowed. Olivier Tallec shows us how abhorrent the act of judging others is.

Cleverly, there is another level to the story – a statement about power, and how it can be misused as one thinks that they are mightier than thou. I smiled as a great sense of victory took hold when Louis I crown was blown off his head and he would have to return to the sheep fold … but what of the crown that has landed atop of the wolf’s head? Can an object really give you power in your own eyes, and the eyes of others?

LOUIS I is a truly rare and thought provoking book. I had a strong reaction to the story-line because of my own knowledge and experience of the world. Will children also react with the same deep feeling? This book demands conversation and debate. It leads the reader to comprehension with depth, if they choose. It is certainly a book with a huge potential for use in educational institutions (primary and secondary years) as it warrants analysis and questioning, a discussion on power, morals, and will lend to the teaching pedagogy of creating a thinking and questioning generation of children.

Title: LOUIS I king of the sheep
Author & Illustrator: Olivier Tullec
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
Publication Date: December 2015
Format: hardcover
ISBN: 9781592701858
Type: Picture Book
Page Count: 40

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace for CKT Book Reviews
(Dip T, B. Ed, Published Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

Julieann is a member of:

Shearing Time, book review

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Shearing Time
by: Allison Paterson
illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

 

As the sun peeks over the horizon we are ready to start the working day all over again… I love shearing time!

 

Shearing Time, written by Allison Paterson, is full of energy from the first page turn to the last. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the shearing of the sheep, as told through the eyes of a girl who lives and breathes life on the farm, from the hard work to the fun parts to the yucky sheep droppings.

As children engage in this story, they will learn about the many jobs to be done at shearing time; like the mustering of the sheep and herding them to the shearing shed, the shearing team and the machines that make the shed rumble with the racket. But there is no time to rest. There’s the grading and baling of the wool where the young girl feels like she is floating on a cloud as she stomps the wool into the wool press. And of course is the clean up!

Illustrator, Shane McGrath, has created a real life sheep farm atmosphere on each page which captures the all the liveliness with detailed illustrations that convey the very essence of the story, making you feel like the farm is your home, too.

Another facet I enjoyed about Shearing Time, is the information page at the end of the story. It tells of when the first sheep arrived in Australia and lists some curious words and sayings used in shearing – ‘Ducks on the Pond’ made me laugh.

Children will enjoy this fast paced story about Australia’s sheep shearers, learning the process about our wool, from sheep to shop, acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our wool farmers and shearers.

Purchase a copy: http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Shearing-Time-PB/1164/productview.aspx

Title: Shearing Time
Written by: Allison Paterson
Illustrated by: Shane McGrath
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
Hardback
ISBN: 9781925520088
RRP $24.99

julieann

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

Julieann is a member of:
Queensland Writers Centre
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