A Sheep, a Bookstore, and
a Blog Post

67ed427230059a0dbe113af3385420ecThe SheepOver (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), a children’s book about the illness and recovery of Sweet Pea the sheep, has turned two Vermont farmers into multi-book contract authors.

Based on the buzzy reaction to their Facebook page updates about their sick sheep, John and Jennifer Churchman decided to write a book detailing the story, illustrated with photographic collage art.

John took the book to his local indie bookstore, the Flying Pig, and owner Elizabeth Bluemle blogged about the unique illustrations – a mix of photos, drawings, and kaleidoscopic layering.

Turns out that Bluemle contributes to PW’s ShelfTalker and wrote the post there (you can see samples of the illustrations in the post).

It caught the eye of agent Brenda Bowen, who contacted the Sweet Pea’s owners and within weeks had netted them a mid-six-figure deal for three books with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

On CBS News, which picked up the story, Bowen called the deal remarkable, saying “I don’t know the degree of rareness that I can get down to. I mean it’s granular level rare.”

Shelf-Awareness picked up the story too, thanks to the indie angle and PW reports it in detail as well.

Now the book is zooming up Amazon’s rankings and is currently out of stock.

Libraries seem to have missed the first wave of interest, with only 19 currently showing holdings in World Cat. With a three-book deal and plenty of farm animals to fuel additional stories, the interest in sheep might not be over for a while.

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