The Sixteenth Sheep
Each child's world is comprised of a plethora of experiences, thoughts, and emotions: they experience nights filled with thunder and lightning, and nights in which sleep evades them; at times they feel old enough and capable, and at other times they are consumed with confusion. Yehonatan Geffen's The Sixteenth Sheep has stood the test of time, and accompanied generations of Israeli children. His songs are full of compassion and empathy for childhood experiences, and respect for children's evolving world. They regard children as young humans who view the world with curiosity, concern, laughter, and hope. In the spirit of the esteemed educator, Mr. Janusz Korczak (1878–1942):
Children are not the people of tomorrow, but are people of today
[The Religion of the Child, HaKibbutz HaMeuhad Publishing, p. 249, translated into Hebrew by Dov Sadan, Zvi Arad]
Reading together, experiencing together
Songs and thoughts
The Sixteenth Sheep is an anthology of songs and stories that one can read one after the other, or select one at a time, according to the season, particular experience, or one's mood. Could you write a song or story together about an everyday experience of yours? How about adding another verse to one of the songs found in the book?
That's happened to me too
While reading, you may want to discuss and examine the thoughts and feelings that emerge within both younger and older readers following the song. Does it remind you of experiences you have had? Parents, you may enjoy sharing your feelings and experiences nowadays and as children with your child.
When I grow up, I'm going to be a singer
Many of the poems in the book have become songs, and this may be a wonderful opportunity to listen to them, sing them together, and enjoy the tunes composed by Yoni Rechter and other musicians. You could record yourselves singing together, play along as you sing, or add a dance routine to your favorite songs.
When I grow up, I'm going to be a painter
Inspired by your favorite songs, you could be artistic in many ways: you could paint the green man using several shades of green, draw yourselves from the back, take a photo of a kindergarten when it is closed, or create the sixteenth sheep using cotton wool. When you have finished, you can show your work and ask: which song or story has inspired me to do this?