Sheree Fitch’s Sheepish Folktale

A yarn to be told and retold

This tale begins with the the birth of a baby lamb, a lamb whose baaa is heard throughout the village of River John, which is its home. It is heard by the fishermen and farmers, the fiddlers and the preachers, the children and the gardeners and by all the people, even Polly MacCauley.

Polly MacCauley lives alone in the woods and keeps to herself. She is somewhat of a legend in the village. But she is renowned for her wonderful woollen creations.

When Polly hears the baa of this little lamb she knows that it is a special lamb indeed. However, in a faraway land, the Count Woolliam and his sister Woolamina also hear this baa and they vow to find this lamb and keep it for themselves, to provide them with all the wool that their greedy hearts desire. But when the whole community rallies to protect Star, this very special lamb, the evil Count and his sister are so moved by their love that they have a complete change of heart.

Such is the legacy of this little lamb called Star. But her story does not end there, for it is then that she goes to live with Polly MacCauley and her true gift is revealed. And it is then that Polly MacCauley is finally able to complete her finest, divinest, wooliest gift of all.

Beloved wordsmith Sheree Fitch gives readers something wonderful and new in this latest work. Part folktale, part fairytale, it is a yarn that is meant to be told and retold, like a traditional tale that is handed down through the generations. It is a story that weaves along gently, revelling in wordplay and poetry and prose tripping merrily off the tongue.

Exquisite descriptions and delicate turns of phrase make the story beautiful and haunting and lovely. But at its heart, it is still a tale with a crucial message for all the world, a message of “healing and hope,” and of the importance of community and being “better when we are together.” It is a whimsical celebration of art, beauty and the power of creating for the good of all.

The folk-art style of the illustrations captures the cadence of the story. They are rich and luminous combined with delightful sketches and line drawings flowing joyfully from one page into the next, looping around and above and beneath and through the text. Although long for a picture book, this is a playful and heartfelt tale that will truly resonate with all ages.

Polly MacCauley’s Finest, Divinest, Woolliest Gift of All
Sheree Fitch, illustrated by Darka Erdelji
Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides

Written By

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

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