Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Lambslide Book Poster Image
Girl teaches animals to vote in cute farm story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows farm animals and activities. Shows how voting works, how it gives the members of a community the power to decide what they want to do. 

Positive Messages

Everyone (in this case, all the animals) should get a vote. Don't just think about yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nicolette is a compassionate leader. She helps the farm animals organize and vote to get what they want. Her parents are kind, willing to let the animals all vote to decide if they want to have the family build a slide at the farm. The lambs' mother encourages them to solve their own problems, ask their fellow animals what they want, and think things through.






Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lambslide is the first picture book by adult novelist Ann Patchett (Bel Canto). It's a cute story about a girl who lives on a farm and helps her lambs campaign to get a fun slide to play on, with charming, realistic illustrations by Robin Preiss Glasser. It also involves a gentle democracy lesson and light wordplay: The plot turns on a lamb hearing "lambslide" when the girl's mom says "landslide." 

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What's the story?

Nicolette is a little girl whose family lives on a farm with lots of animals, including a flock of lambs who seem to think everything is about them. When Nicolette is facing an election for class president, her mom assures her she'll win "in a landslide," meaning by a lot. But the lambs hear there'll be a "lambslide" and get excited, imagining a big slide to play on. Nicolette, who seems to understand everything the lambs think and want, helps then launch a campaign to get a lambslide (painting and carrying protest signs), but Nicolette's parents decide that "the whole farm should vote on whether there should be a lambslide." So Nicolette sets up a way for the animals to vote: She puts out a Yay and a Nay basket, and each animal decides which basket to put a stone in. The yays have it, and the family builds a slide on a slope wide enough for cows and horses, too.

Is it any good?

This cute story teaches the basics about making decisions by group vote while poking fun at those who are too self-absorbed, and highlighting empathy and leadership skills. It's a little odd that Nicolette knows what the lambs think even though they don't speak directly to her, as they do to one another and their mother. And how do all the animals understand the voting process? Can they read the "Yay" and "Nay" and "Take a stone" signs? It's not hard to just go with it, but it seems like there's a gap in the storytelling. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how voting works in Lambslide. How do the animals decide whether they want a slide? Is that how grown-ups vote in elections?  

  • How do you think Nicolette knows what the lambs want when we don't see them talk to her directly? Do you have a dog or a cat that lets you know when they're hungry or want to go out? How do they let you know how they feel? 

  • Do you live on a farm or have you visited a farm? Is it or does it look like a fun place to live? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and animals

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