Friday, May 23, 2008

The Little Lamb

The Little Lamb
story by Judy Dunn
photographs by Phoebe Dunn
Random House, 1977

I'll admit, I've been stalking the 70s on this trip, but there is just so much rad stuff out there, it is hard to bounce around from era to era without your head spinning entirely off. I imagine every kid from that time had one or more of these photography storybooks written and photographed by this talented mother/daughter team (i.e. The Little Rabbit, The Little Kitten, The Little Duck, etc.) The nostalgia is so thick when I read this to my son that I get all warm and snuggly inside.

Emmy (I was this close to naming my son that if he'd ended up a daughter) is a little girl who finds herself the caretaker to a motherless, newborn lamb that she names Timothy. She takes it home and bottle feeds it and loves it and gives it a little leather collar with a bell. They play hide and seek in the grass and make dandelion chains and all is happy and fun. That is, until Timothy gets bigger and wreaks havoc all over everywhere. In the end, Emily must give her lamb back to the farm where he rightfully belongs...

Early the next morning,
Emmy walked Timothy to the Wetherbee Farm.
She hugged Timothy's wooly neck
and promised to visit whenever she could.
Then he took off his purple leash
and Timothy scampered out to meet the flock.
He buried his nose in the clover patch,
and grazed with the other sheep in the morning sun.

The story sort of riffs on the first half of Charlotte's Web, before the spider, the rat and all the complicated doings of the farmyard.

I love this book, as does the wee one. The little girl (particularly in her party dress for the birthday scene), the sheep and the photographs are all adorable and made me wistful for life on the farm when I was small. The Little Lamb was my favorite in the series as my sisters and I had a lamb named Tina, and though she was wilder than Timothy, I often fantasized about sleeping with her in bed at night and buying her a purple leash just like Tim had. (Then she'd eat my coloring books, and I'd remember why she lived out in the barn.) Sweet, sweet book for the gentle at heart.


dawn said...

I loved these books when I was a child. My favorite one was the Little Ducking, and also the Lamb one you wrote about.
Something about real photography of baby animals really hooks kids (and adults like me)

Unknown said...

I was just having a conversation with a friend about how much I adored a book about a girl and her pet lamb (with the party dress and purple leash). I could not remember the name of the book so I did a Google search and found your blog. I am SO happy to now know the name of it! It really is one of the best stories. I STILL want a pet lamb because of this book. Thanks for a great blog paying tribute to the great books we grew up with. A love of reading is so important to instill in children. :)

Esteban03 said...

Super sweet book from my childhood and my daughter loves it . Plus a picture of her in a sweet vintage vw bus

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