Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Review: Lambs of Fairy Glen by Sheila Kogan

by Sheila Kogan
Illustrated by Stefan Turk
Picture Book 
72 pages
ages 4 to 8

When Mr. Treat strides down the ferry into the peaceful town of Uig, Scotland, he is intent on using Fairy Glen for his own profit. With the help of Mr. Pharma they introduce the sleep inducing I-Want-More dust.

Eight-year old twins, Hilda and Heather, who normally bicker at each other, join forces to enlist the Spirit of Beauty for help. And it is the gentle lambs who offer their wooly warmth to turn the tide.

Lambs of Fairy Glen is a warm and humorous story about lamb power, where kindness and love overcome malevolence. It is beautifully illustrated with twenty-two paintings filled with wit and whimsy. A universal tale, Lambs of Fairy Glen is designed for eight-year olds but is appropriate for eight to eighty



A pinch of fantasy and a whole lot of cute, cuddly fun make this a lovely tale, which can be read again and again.

This book takes the reader on a trip to Northern Scotland and even begins with the ferry ride to the island. A tad bit of mystery is filtered in as the reader bumps into an obnoxious man before stepping out onto land and discovering the quaint town. From there it follows a pair of twins and an adventure, which takes some interesting twists and turns.

This tale makes a wonderful read-aloud. The length is a little longer than many picture books, but this one also holds a richer story, the kind perfect to read before bedtime. The first pages directly grab the reader taking on more of a 2nd person flare before swooping into a twist, which has the twins at the center of the adventure. And this flows nicely.

Adventure doesn't hit right away but allows the reader to first sink into the Scottish landscape and town...and especially the people in the story. It's never boring or drags, but rather lets the entire thing come to life. Plus, there are hints at what is to come as the twins meet a neighbor or two. When the really troubles start, a pinch of magic and lots of tension grab until the last page. The ending is so sweet and unexpected, not to mention heartwarming and cuddly. It's a well-rounded story from beginning to end.

The illustrations fit the tale wonderfully and I enjoyed how well they artistically brought across the landscape. The moments are brought to life with the various emotions and even, at times, a little tension. It's fun to flip through these and gaze at them without the text.

And here she is...

Lambs of Fairy Glen sprang from a trip to the Hebrides in Northern Scotland.  When she was there, Sheila accidentally discovered the enchanted glen and met Mr. and Mrs. Potts, Gordy, the twin girls and the lambs.  The story presented itself like a gift.
Sheila Kogan has taught dance for most of her life.  Her book, Step by Step: A Complete Movement Education Curriculum is a classic in schools and studios. 
Ms. Kogan is the mother of three and grandmother of four.  She lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Visit her website at

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