BAAA, by David Macauley

My classroom being 90 bajillion degrees (due to what I’ve often heard called a “lowest bid” HVAC system), and it being that time of year (the end) I ended up in the library with my students recently.  As they pretended to be studious, I roamed the stacks.  I was lucky enough to come across this gem: Baaa.

First of all, I’ve loved David Macauley’s drawings since I was six.  Always interested in architecture, I pored over Castle, Cathedral, Pyramid and others.  His attention to detail always hooked me from page one.

I really had no idea he dabbled in apocalyptic satire.  Directed at 9-12 year olds.  Starring my second favorite species, ovis aries.



  1. One day, a flock of sheep show up.
  2. Gradually, they take over the world.
    • Like any species, they must first become “civilized.”
    • Using television sets and VCRs they find in abandoned houses–this is 1985, after all–they learn to speak and to read.
    • As they learn more and more about people, they become more and more like people.  Dressing like them, riding bikes, building schools, pondering the universe.  Getting JOBS (There are even Weather Sheep).

      i love the pope. and the military junta leader.

  3. Once they’ve taken over the world, they run into the same problems humans have run into, namely, waves of crime and food shortages.

    thievery. (note the cowboy boots.)

    food shortages.

  4. Until, one day, Baaa is introduced.
  5. At this point it is clear that:


Everything.  If this wasn’t a library book I’d be tempted to take the book apart and frame some of the drawings.

The BAD:


The VERDICT: Read it, and really appreciate the illustrations.

Do it.  Unless you’re one of those people who can’t stand satire.  Or sheep.


6 Responses to Sheepocalypse.

  1. Niiiiiice. When I was still working at The Monkey, we used to read this one and just howl — the details in the illustrations are priceless. I’ve never understood why it isn’t more well-known.

  2. tulip says:

    Awesome! I’m putting this on the library request right now!

  3. Alicia says:

    This, ‘Shrinking of Treehorn’, (and the other Treehorn books, all illustrated by Edward Gorey) were the books I remembered most reading as a kid. Not sure what kind of long-term damage that might have done to me.

  4. Tulip, you won’t be sorry — I’d forgotten all about it until My Treasured Younger Sister discovered it, and now I’m going to have to hunt down a copy for myself.

    Alicia, this one would be right up your alley, I think. Someone showed up at our library Trivia Night wearing a Gorey shirt I hadn’t seen, and I had to restrain myself from giving him extra points. Have you gone to the Gorey house? There’s a flickr set of pictures, too.

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