Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sheep of the Lal Bagh

What sparked your interest in reading? For me, it was my mom. She was an avid reader and almost always had a thick paperback in her hands. One summer when I was pretty young, she signed me up for a book club. I got to pick out a batch of books all by myself and they were delivered over the summer. These packages were the first mail I received and I still remember the excitement of them coming in with my name. One of those books is pictured above, The Sheep of the Lal Bagh. This was a picture book about a sheep named Ramesh who worked in a garden in an Indian town. He was the town's favorite attraction. Every night Ramesh would come out and mow the lawn into beautiful shapes and designs. People came from all over to see him. Then sadly, one day he was replaced by a lawn mower. Ramesh went back up to his mountain. The children were sad because they couldn't pet a lawn mower. Finally, they set out to look for Ramesh and they returned him to his rightful place in the garden. I don't know what it was about this story that I loved so much. Maybe it was the beautiful illustrations, or maybe it was the fascination of the different geometric designs Ramesh made in the lawns, or maybe it was simply because it was my own mail. All I know is that I loved this book as a kid. It's still one of my favorite picture books.

A few years ago, when I began writing stories for children, I set out to find this old book. It took me a little while because at the time, I had no idea what the title was. I finally figured it out and bought myself a copy on ebay. The book came out in 1967, but I would have only been 2 years old then, so I had to have bought a later edition in the early 70s. The book I got from ebay looks like mine did -- having seen a little wear and tear, but lots of love. I know this book can still be found online when you search for it, and it's usually a reasonable price. If you have kids, I highly recommend this book. My boys loved it. I have it sitting up on a shelf in our family room that features some other things from my childhood. The Sheep of the Lal Bagh has earned a special place on my childhood shelf for its enduring quality. That, of course, is every writer's dream and I'm sure David Mark and Lionel Kalish would be proud. Has anyone else read this book?


  1. Thanks for the recommendation, Rena, it sounds like a cute story. Maybe we'll check that book out after "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"!

    I wish that I read more as a child. My mom and I read a few books together - "Little Women", "Charlotte's Web", and "The Secret Garden" are the ones that stick in my mind. I was such a tomboy as a kid, that I would rather go climb a tree or play baseball than open a book. My poor mom, it must have been so frustrating for her! Anyway, now that I realize the importance of reading, I try to encourage my boys to read as much as possible.

    Thanks again for the recommendation!


  2. Hi Neen! It's a great old book if you can find it. I'm hoping to highlight a few of my childhood favorite books on her over time. I also have another blog/website too, which is listed on the right side of this one as "Rena's Multiply Site". One wasn't enough -- LOL!

  3. I didn't notice your other blog! Oh my gosh, how do you keep up, Rena? And don't tell me its because your crockpot saves you so much time!


  4. LOL -- no, it's because we haven't started school yet. Next week. The other site is the one my publisher uses, so I wanted to keep everyone up to date there as well as get to know others in that forum. Feel free to check that one out too. I'll probably keep posting on both for the time being. I would like to get a regular website up and running too, when I really have something to offer. :)

  5. Just wanted to chime in as another fan of this book! My mom read it to me as a child in the late 70s and it's still on her shelf of books for grandchildren to read when they come over. The same illustrator also did a book called The Cat and the Fiddler that I loved.

  6. Oh wow -- that's cool! I have mentioned this book to many people, but no one has ever known what I'm talking about. I'm glad to see there's another fan of this story. I'll have to look for "the Cat and the Fiddler" as well. Thanks for posting and telling me about it! :)