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The Surprise

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  134 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Sheep carefully charts the growth of his wool coat. When it's long enough, he rides his moped to buy some red dye and dyes his wool and shaves it off. Sheep puts on a sweater and takes the wool to Poodle, who spins it into yarn. Back at home, Sheep knits a beautiful red sweater as a surprise present for Giraffe
Hardcover, 22 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Lemniscaat USA (first published 2003)
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Oct 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Wordless picture book
For toddlers-preschoolers

Through illustrations only, Sheep is shown turning her wool into a surprise for a friend.

As with many wordless picture books, this is a story that can be easily looked at alone by a pre-reader, or "read" aloud to practice narrative skills. Talking about the book as an early literacy tool makes it sound awfully dull, but this is really a fun, colorfully illustrated story about friendship, generosity, and the fiber arts. We see Sheep not only measuring
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
Anyone who likes fiber arts needs to check out this adorable book. The smoking poodle at the spinning wheel may not be the most suitable image for kids today, but she is the epitome of #lifegoals for me.
The cover illustration of a sheep on a motorbike is a little misleading, but when you open the book up to the title written in red yarn, you know this story is going somewhere crafty. The story develops as the sheep weighs himself, decides he’s gotten too bulky, and then decides to create a very special surprise for his friend. The pictures depict the sheep’s journey from fluffy to shorn, and the creation a lovely sweater for his giraffe friend. The process of going from sheep to sweater might m ...more
Oct 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Take one sheep, one special friend and a top secret project.

This beautiful book, by Sylvia van Ommen, a Dutch author/illustrator tells the story without words. It's a theme played out over and over again in crafty blogland and when I saw the book, it made me want to cry. If you see it on a shelf near you, pick it up. You won't be sorry.
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's a silent love story. Sheep drives to a dye store (there is a 2 for 1 sale!), goes home and dyes herself (two tones). She shears herself, spins it into yarn, and knits something. She packages it and drops it off at Giraffe - a perfectly knit fit looong necked sweater!

Beautiful pictures, no words, only feeling.
May 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love wordless picture books, and this one is my new favorite. I was intially intrigued by trying to figure out what was happening at the beginning (skip reading the summary in the book jacket, it ruins the surprise!) and then I laughed when I found out what the adorable sheep was up to. Cute cute cute!
Jim Erekson
Apr 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Where did the giraffe come from? In general, the ongoing thread in my mind was 'what is the sheep up to now' and it was fun just to follow that thread. But maybe some small hints about where it was all going would have worked well? All that suspense leading to a gift for an arbitrary giraffe felt strange.
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book might not be for everyone, but it certainly one for me. I love the movement in the illustrations, the quirkiness and the message. A real gem!
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious wordless picture book that is incredibly touching. Unmistakable friendship theme but I needed to add a little narration for my 2yo to catch some of the jokes. All crocheters and knitters will find it delightful!

Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
A wordless picture book perfect for toddlers. This book is about a sheep who decides hes gotten a little bulky and make his wool into a fabulous red sweater for his friend giraffe. through beautifully drawn illustrations we are taken on sheeps journey into making a surprise for his friend.
Dyana Vera
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very beautiful album of friendship and kindness. For children and adults. I loved it!
Elisa Stargirl
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Come può essere fuori commercio questo splendido silent book?
May 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Preschool-Gr 2
Summary (CIP): A sheep knits his friend, a giraffe, a surprise gift of a sweater from his own wool.

REVIEW: This sweet wordless book by a Dutch author is a favorite of mine and illustrates the pleasure of giving. You are kept guessing till the end about what this sheep is doing as he measures his wool, dyes it (red, of course), shears it off, and zooms back and forth on his red vespa busily. The art is simple, yet very expressive, and lends itself to discussion and narrative skills such as antic
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wordless
the last page is so adorable, i actually squealed.

things of note besides this book being adorable. ...

the sheep is fixated on being overweight. no lie. it's mildly disturbing, and possibly a bad influence on impressionable children with developing body issues.

there's also a poodle working in a sweatshop AND smoking. which could be considered subversive, except that it's funny. (i'm embellishing about the sweatshop, the poodle is probably an independant craftsperson). do you think poodles smoke
Jared White
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A wordless picture book. This one is much more straightforward than most wordless picture books, most have a lot going on in each illustration; this one, on the other hand, doesn't really even have backgrounds in the pictures (they're mostly just solid colors). But, it is still a cute book about friendship and displays a wonderful example of giving a meaningful, thoughtful, handmade gift to a friend (which, in my opinion, are the best kind).
Ellen Ramsey
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm usually not a fan of wordless picture books, but this one is delightful. Sheep dyes her own wool and shears herself so that she has a gift for a friend. The identity of that friend is a wonderful surprise.
Apr 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-ya
A beautifully done wordless picture book about a sheep who uses her wool to knit a sweater for her friend. Vibrant pictures walk readers through shearing wool, dying, spinning, knitting, and gifting. Love it!
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Andrea
Recommended to Katherine by:
Shelves: to-re-read
The illustrations are so lush and bright and sweet. Wow! This is a fantastic book. I hope Joey and Samuel will latch onto this concept of a story in illustrations and "read" independently with this book and others like it (like A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog).
Michelle Nero
Oct 18, 2014 rated it liked it
I wasn't sure where this story was going...A story about giving & friendship.
May 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-books
It;s a picture book, but it tells a story. The illustrations were very colorful and they told the story very well. So times the illustrations do all the talking.
(originally published in Dutch)
Danica Midlil
This is one of my favorite books, but I must say, I'm not thrilled that the illustrator chose to show the sheep smoking to pass the time. Grrrrr. Bad decision Sylvia Van Ommen.
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pic-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
kids love this "wordless" book. read it together with them and be sure to have them help you tell the story. their guesses about the surprise are fantastic!
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Who wouldn't love a sheep who rides a scooter? Follow the adventures of the sheep as he plans a special surprise for a friend.
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A lovely story, probably one of my favorites for kids and adults.
Ashley D--
Jan 11, 2013 rated it liked it
A cute, simple, wordless story. Not greatly entertaining, but straightforward enough to recommend it for anyone looking for a picture book without words.
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
no need to be sheepish, this story was cute and clever!
Apr 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Charming Dutch picture book with no text - a sheep wants to surprise a friend
Apr 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Not typically a fan of books with no words, but this was pretty good. My kids especially liked my immitation of a mo-ped.
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