Brian the Brave

Brian the Brave
Paul Stewart and Jane Porter
Otter-Barry Books

Paul Stewart’s story stars a curly-horned, white woolly sheep going by the name of well, Brian.

It all begins one sunny day with Brian busy nibbling in a grassy meadow when along comes curly-horned, black woolly sheep Rose. The two agree to become friends and are happily playing chase when along comes Stanley. This sheep wants only to play with Rose on account of their both being black. Hmm – you can see where this is going. Poor Brian is now excluded and he feels sad.

Two spotty sheep arrive; they share the horny characteristic with Brian and Rose leaving a fed up Stanley out of the gang.

Up trot a hornless striped trio, Cassidy, Lou and Hamish, Brian suggests they all become friends but the three snub his invitation.

Enough is finally enough for Brian: He tells them ” We are all sheep, … We should all play together!” It looks as though things might just work out well for all but suddenly things kick off again leaving blue-eyed Brian exceedingly downcast and isolated.

Off he walks, looks at his reflection in a lake, continues his stroll up a hill, through a forest and there comes face to face with …

He dashes away, hotly pursued by the hungry lupine creature, to warn his fellow sheep. The situation is grave: somebody has to do something and fast.

Good old Brian steps in as operation attack-wolf co-ordinator and happily his fellow sheep co-operate until their joint biffing (the curly horners’ contribution) and butting (by the noses of the hornless ones) sees off their would-be guzzler once and for all.

There are SO many ways you can interpret this book in our increasingly troubled, B–X-T times but however you do – and it might be different on different days – it’s definitely a biffing, butting, cracking celebration of courage, self-belief, acceptance, co-operation, difference and friendship.

Jane Porter’s various sheep characters are splendidly portrayed in her dramatic, often funny, colourful collage scenes of the ups and downs of life ovine style.

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