Booklist Reviews

PreS-Gr. 1. In this Australian import, three sheep shearers, Ratso, Big Bob, and Bungo, are proud of their sheepdogs, but their coworker, Shaun, has a new idea about the way to herd. Pete, his sheep, very politely does the work, and then Shaun, an excellent shearer, gives them the cut. All the sheep love the duo, which angers Ratso, Big Bob, and Bungo, who give Shaun and Pete the boot. Shaun spends his time shearing Pete, and comes up with a hairstyle so divine, he opens a barbershop, specializing in sharp haircuts for sheep. Before long, the shop is so busy, Ratso, Big Bob, and Bungo join up as barbers. This is one extended joke, but the text is so jaunty and the artwork so amusing, it's hard to mind. Most of the fun in the ink-and-watercolor drawings comes from the expressions on the sheeps' faces--and, of course, their wild and wacky haircuts. Good for story hours. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Shaggy Gully's sheep shearers and their hard-working sheep dogs are horrified when maverick shearer Shaun arrives with Pete, his sheep-herding sheep. Shaun and Pete open up a wildly successful sheep salon, leaving the stodgy shearers at loose ends--and Pete with an idea. Cleanly designed illustrations work well with French's understated text. Strong lines focus attention on the expressive characters. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

"That's not the way we do things here!" The sheep shearers in Shaggy Gully aren't quick to accept change. Big Bob, Ratso, Bungo, and their hard-working sheepdogs are horrified when maverick shearer Shaun arrives on the scene with Pete, his sheep-herding sheep. Shaun and Pete upset the natural order of things: not only does Shaun shear with style and flair, but "Pete was so polite that the sheep would follow him anywhere." While this spells disaster for working alongside Big Bob et al., it's just the thing for opening up a wildly popular sheep salon. In this book by the creators of Diary of a Wombat, Whatley's cleanly designed illustrations, which favor subdued colors and lots of white space, work well with French's understated text. Strong lines focus attention on the expressive characters in the well-paced story. Business at the salon is phenomenal; Shaun has more customers than he and Pete can handle. Then the dogs defect, "creeping sheepishly into the salon" for some au courant pampering, leaving the stodgy shearers at loose ends -- and Pete with an idea. There's nothing that a fabulous haircut -- or shearing job -- can't make better. And when you team up with friends, "Everyone can look gorgeous!" Copyright 2006 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

In a sort of "queer eye for the straight sheep," a mild-mannered shearer and his sheep-sheep show a trio of tough shearers how to get in touch with their stylish sides. Ratso, Big Bob and Bungo, and their sheepdogs Brute, Tiny and Fang, are taken aback, to say the least, when Shaun shows up with fedora-clad Pete, a sheep-herding sheep, whose polite way with his flock represents a radical and unwelcome new way of doing things. Ostracized from shearer society, Shaun practices his craft on Pete, whose new do draws all the other sheep to him, prompting him to open a salon. Soon, Brute, Tiny and Fang are sporting Shaun's handiwork as well, and finally Ratso, Big Bob and Bungo all join in. As in the pair's Diary of a Wombat (2003), the understated text gives the whimsical watercolor-and-pencil illustrations plenty of room to explore the inherent wackiness of the concept, as the gentle Shaun finds the right look for everyone, sheep, dog and shearer alike. It's a sweetly fleecy tale of outsider-makes-good, the genially inevitable ending entirely satisfying. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection

Australian sheep shearers Ratso, Big Bob, and Bungo are not real impressed with the new shearer, Shaun. Instead of the standard sheep-dog, Shaun has Pete, an incredibly polite sheep-sheep, whose gentle manner and considerate requests soon win over the entire herd. Ostracized from the barn, Shaun decides to open up his own sheep-shearing salon in town. His innovative stylings are a hit, and soon there are more customers than he can handle. When their dogs start making hair make-over appointments, the other shearers realize that Shaun might be onto something. The book ends with all four shearers happily employed at Shaun's Animal Salon. The humorous illustrations, snappy dialogue, and barking and baaing sound effects make this an excellent choice for a read-aloud. This current offering from the team that produced Diary of a Wombat (Clarion Books, 2003) will be popular with the picture book audience. Recommended. Kathleen McBroom, Media Specialist, Dearborn (Michigan) Public Schools © 2006 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

PW Annex Reviews

Treating one's foes as potential friends is a life lesson that's put to practice in a tale of a shearer and his "sheep-sheep." Shaun is a no-nonsense simpleton who shrugs off his unusual choice of sheep herder: "Pete's as good as any sheep dog," says Shaun. "We just do things… differently." The fiercely loyal Pete acts as a unique caricature of man's best friend, speaking to his master in his own "sheep talk," for which the author provides endearing translations. When a trio of sheep shearers reject Pete—and Shaun as well—the now-unemployed Shaun finds a way to turn what he loves most into a livelihood that exhibits both his ingenuity and spirit. Whatley's pencil drawings of Shaun's Sheep Salon may well cause readers to laugh out loud, especially the images of sheep and sheep dogs donning curlers and "pawing" through magazines as they wait for their wool to set. The author's portrayal of an accepting Shaun does not waver, as he offers salon positions to the inevitably out-of-work shearers—at the forgiving Pete's suggestion. French's depiction of a world in which both man and beast are embraced by all, despite their differences, is an example to live by, no matter how old readers may be. Ages 5-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 2 -All the sheep shearers at Shaggy Gully have sheep dogs with names like Brute, Tiny, and Fang. A new shearer, Shaun, arrives with a "sheep-sheep" named Pete, who rounds up the animals with polite requests and compliments. Soon the sheep will only respond to Pete, and allow only Shaun to shear them. When the other shearers insist that they must go, Shaun opens a salon in town, styling the sheep's wool in innovative ways. When Brute, Tiny, and Fang desert their owners to have their fur styled, the other shearers finally join the salon and spend their time styling animals of all shapes and sizes. The creators of Diary of a Wombat (Clarion, 2003) have produced a bit of harmless, silly fluff that, while mildly amusing, is hardly likely to inspire rereading. Whatley's watercolor-and-colored-pencil illustrations are clean and crisp and work nicely with the text, but there is simply not much substance here.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

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