Meet Baabwaa & Wooliam

Introducing characters can be tricky. What do we want readers to know about them? And how do we reveal these traits?

In Baabwaa & Wooliam, author David Elliott takes the direct approach.

He begins the book by introducing each character in turn, accompanied by Melissa Sweet‘s dignified portraits (click on images to enlarge):

Then he tells us a little more about their lives:

I love the narrator’s voice—simple and straightforward, with plenty of dry humor. 

Later, when the two friends decide to go on an adventure, we’re introduced to a third character: another (ahem) sheep.

            A sheep with a long, rangy tail.

            A sheep with a sharp, whiskered snout.

            A sheep with a filthy wool coat.

On the next spread, we learn a bit more about this new character, and about Baabwaa and Wooliam (true to their sheeply reputation, they’re not the sharpest tools in the shed).

Are you intrigued? 

Truth be told, David Elliott and Melissa Sweet had me at the cover. Between the punny title and the image of this duo and their cozy camper home, I was sold. Happily, the enchantment lasts to the final page.

But I’m not going to spoil the ending. Let’s just say the sheep (the real ones) get their adventure. And the wolf gets something exciting too (not to mention some improvement in his dental hygiene).

Giveaway Winners!

The winners of William Wakes Up from last month’s post are Kathy Shanahan and Mary Bleckwehl. Congratulations!

Thanks for reading, y’all!


Linda Ashman

Linda Ashman is the author of more than 45 picture books, as well as The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books, a how-to guide for picture book writers. Her books have been included on the ‘best of the year’ lists of The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, the American Library Association, the Children’s Book Council, and The New York Public Library, among others, and have been translated into many languages.


  1. The story sounds great and I love the wordplay.
    Cute illustrations, too.

  2. I love the simpleness of the language and voice. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I liked this story and the fun characters David Elliot created. I will have to go back and read it again! His dry humor definitely appeals to me!

  4. Lucky me, I sometimes attend Lesley University seminars where David Elliott lectures. I love hearing authors talk about their work, and this was one book that we had heard about from him. Love the textures Melissa Sweet utilizes too. Fun from beginning to end.

    • Lucky you, indeed! I’d love to hear about this story. I only just realized he wrote BULL too–an amazing (and very different) book. I agree about the textures too–Melissa Sweet is one of my favorite illustrators.

  5. a read to put on my reading list. thank you, terri

  6. Debra K Shumaker

    Oh my gosh, I want to read this book!!!! Thank you!

  7. Elliott and Sweet…a winning combination! Haven’t seen this one yet, but will be remedying that soon. 🙂

  8. Angie Quantrell

    Oh, I laughed out loud at the title! Too funny! I can’t wait to read this! Love the voice!

  9. This would be a fun one to share with a group of kids. It made me laugh.

  10. I love this! A wolf in sheep’s clothing. Hopefully there will be a sequel about Baabwaa and Wooliamm dressing up to infiltrate a camp of wolves. Thanks for sharing! Great narrative voice and humor.

  11. Love what I see here! I’ve always been a huge fan of Melissa Sweet’s illustrations.

  12. Elliot is a master and what a great pairing with Melissa Sweet…can’t wait to get my greedy hands on this book! Love your teasy review, Linda! And btw, I hope I run into you because I have a very sweet William story! Miss you!

  13. Oh my – this looks fabulous and I need to know what happens!
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. Love the title! This looks like such a fun read and the illustrations are hysterical. Can’t wait to add it to my library.

  15. This book looks so fun!!
    Can’t wait read it!

  16. Adorable! I can’t wait to read it all!

  17. Oooo! Can’t wait to read it!

  18. This post made me laugh out loud!

  19. This book looks like a winner! Can’t wait to see it. Many thanks for sharing.

  20. I am very intrigued. Such dry humor and great illustrations here! Very interest that the open spread is all telling, but it’s so funny. Could a new/debut author pull this off?

  21. I love this. I was laughing so hard at “muttonchops.” Thank you Linda.

  22. Those sheep names are so cute. Had me chuckling right away.

  23. I love this book, Linda! Thanks for the great post!

  24. This book is right up my alley. Can’t wait to read it!!

  25. This was indeed a fun book full of humor and word play. As for the character introductions, I liked how Elliot did this in a rather straightforward manner, one that suited the rather straightforward tone of the telling–a tone that produced humor as a byproduct.

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