PPBF: Red Berry Wool

Today I'm feeling happy and hopeful after a week of amazing kindness and love. As I was leaving the building yesterday, I received a sweet note from one of our moms with her payment for a signed copy of my book. Inside was ten dollars too much with this note: I'm excited to share your book with my friend ... the other $10 is to bless someone else with a copy. So this evening, before my 10 pm CST bedtime, the Gruener Generator will select the recipient of Erin's generosity from all of the comments on today's post. Come back tomorrow to see if it's you!

I'm eager to keep those kindness embers burning with today's PPBF pick; prepare to feel the warmth.

Title: Red Berry Wool
Author: Robyn Eversole
Illustrator: Tim Coffey
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Date: March 2002
Genre: Fiction
Suitable for: ages 4 and up
Themes: perseverance, kindness, friendship
Brief synopsis: A little lamb named Lalo wants to have wool like  his shepherd boy. What lengths will he have to go to to make that happen?
Opening page: In a meadow on a mountain near the town, a boy watched over a flock of sheep. The smartest lamb was called lalo. He noticed everything. One day, he noticed something different about the Boy. 
Resources: *Check out a review at EdSnapShots blog {here}.
*Read it during your farm unit and find out all you can about sheep.
*Show the Pixar Short Boundin' to integrate and connect with values 
like kindness and respect for differences.
*Talk about this quote from the P is for Perseverance chapter of my book. Then unravel some connections with Lalo's quest to make red berry wool, his persistence and his perseverance.

*Visit the Growing Firsties blog for enrichment activities related to perseverance.

*Discuss or write about it: Lalo has a plan, to turn his "straggly, and muddy, and full of straw" wool into wool that "would look splendid like the Boy." What steps does Lalo take to turn his dream into a reality? What worked? What didn't? 
*Inquire: Why do you think it was so important for Lalo to be like his Boy? Encourage students to relate this to a time they've pursued a connection or a goal. What went well? What didn't go so well? What was the end result?

Why I like this book: This tale is like a wolf in sheep's clothing in that it seems really simple but it's actually quite deep. Lalo asks what it would take to get his wool to look like the boy's sweater and his mom remembers the answer:

First, you wash the wool. 
Then you spin it. 
Then you dye the wool. 
Then - you knit it.

Easy breezy, right? Well, that's what little Lalo was hoping anyway. He would find out the hard way that it wasn't going to be easy at all and, well, perhaps it'd even be difficult. Still, he figured it'd be worth it to be like his Boy. And for every misstep as he journeyed toward his goal, sure enough, there's the shepherd boy to pick him up, dust him off, and put him back in the meadow. 
Sound kind of familiar?

Toward the end, when Lalo reflects on how unsuccessful he has been ~ "I must have done everything wrong," thought Lalo. He sat down beside the drinking pond, miserable. "I will never look splendid like the Boy." ~ he realizes he forgot the knit part. Lalo found his mother on the far side of the meadow. "What does knit mean?" he asked her. "Knit? Let me think." Lalo's mother thought for five whole mouthfuls of grass. At last she said, "Knit means to bring things together."

And that's where I'll leave you, back at the drinking pond, Lalo with his Boy. Did the persistent little sheep meet his goal? Check out this book to find out. Then leap on over to Susanna's blog for today's PPBF titles.


  1. I love this, "Knit means to bring things together." What beautiful writing.

    1. YES - this is my FAVORITE part! Thanks for stopping by, Joanna.

  2. Love this! Thanking you for your generosity of this giveaway ~ paying it forward from an act of kindness shown to you by another <3.

    1. Hi Karen - my pleasure! I am so touched by Erin's thoughtfulness, that's for sure.

  3. Beautiful story about friendship.

  4. The illustrations look absolutely beautiful! I will definitely have to check this one out.

    1. Hi Heather. The books says "Paintings by" so I'm curious about the magnificence of those illustrations as well!

  5. Have to agree with Joanna. Love the line about knitting. I was a 4-H sheep clubber, so this sounds like a wonderful read.

    1. YAY for 4-H! I actually write about the Pledge in my book!! I think you'll fall in love with Lalo, Wendy.

  6. Replies
    1. It's really beautiful, Julie. I found it at a yarn shop in DC like ten years ago and it always finds its way back into my hands!

  7. Well, this is right up my alley so to speak! We don't have sheep, but almost - we have mohair goats. And I know all about that scraggly, muddy, full of straw, smelly mohair!! And about all the work that the Mom Person goes to to get that stuff looking sparkly and shining. This sounds like a terrifically lovely tale!!! I'll have to sniff this one out! Thanks for sharing all the good stuff Ms Gruener!! :P

    1. And to you, Rhythm ... thanks! For stopping by, for making connections, for sharing them with us, and for always offering me such tail-wagging gratitude.

  8. Replies
    1. Yep ... the best line ... and it gets better when you see how the book ends! Appreciate you stopping by, Janine!

  9. I am a big fan Barbara! It's hard to find a good children's book about perseverance!

  10. This looks absolutely lovely. Requesting it from the library right now . ;)


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!