On the cover, Georgina (aged 14) was quoted as saying, “I loved it! I felt like I was on another planet; it made my imagination run wild! One of the best books I have ever read, I just didn’t want to put it down!” We are not quite so glowing. It is a book with a strange atmosphere. There are shades of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, in that it is set in another world “two billion years from now”, while having a sort of 1920s feel to it. It is scattered with unexpected ideas and whimsical jokes; the woolly jumpers are sheep using parachutes, for example, and a lot of the names are anagrams.
The main characters are half a dozen sheep, plus a butterfly and a soul which shines like a little light, and their personalities all have strongly human traits. The sheep have evolved into scientists, poets etc., capable of flying planes. Clearly you are expected to suspend quite a lot of disbelief, but that applies to Winnie the Pooh as well. The small handful of humans are all unpleasant and are exploiting the sheep. Eric is the Chosen One who rescues the sheep from a horrible mass-produced fate. The story carries the reader on to the final denouement.
Eric’s success is based on his own courage, the positive qualities of his sheep team-mates, technical know-how, and their ability to stir the flock up to rebel against the evil humans. There are clearly lessons here for dictators who do not pay attention to the needs of those whom they govern and are meant to serve. Perhaps Colonel Gadafy should have been sent a copy a few years ago, so that he could have mended his ways.
Hulme, Eric (2010) Eric and the Woolly Jumpers
Printed by Dolman Scott