Who is Shrek the sheep and why is he so famous? Shrek the sheep was born in 1994 near Tarras, New Zealand. When he was around 4 years old, he decided he did not want to be shorn (have his wool cut, that is) and so he began to hide in caves to avoid being caught. When they finally did catch him, it took a professional 20 minutes to do the shearing, which was broadcast on national TV, CNN and the BBC. His fleece had enough wool to make 20 suits, which were all auctioned off to charity. Shrek became a national icon in New Zealand and was invited to meet the prime minister, Helen Clark, in 2004. He was made famous in photographs, videos, and children’s books; even though New Zealand has 10 times more sheep than people, Shrek stood out and captured the hearts of people with his delightful story. He raised money for charities, boosted the publicity of the wool industry, made public appearances around the country, contributed millions to the economy— and Shrek was even shorn on an floating iceberg to celebrate his 10th birthday. Continue reading
I have 3 great children’s books that will give you a well-rounded introduction and background of Ireland. This is Ireland, by Miroslav Sasek was written in 1964 like a travel guidebook for kids. With fantastic (now vintage) illustrations, it describes the important places across the entire country including details and history about Dublin, the monastery of Clonmacnoise, and several stone castles.
Image credit: photo taken from "This is Ireland" by M. Sasek, copyright 1964.
The book takes us from the Giant’s Causeway in the north, to the many lakes in County Mayo to the west, and all along the diverse coasts and harbors including the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara. Sasek includes interesting facts woven into the book about St. Patrick, the cathedral that bears his name in Dublin, the Book of Kells, famous people, and national symbols such as the leprechaun, shamrock, and the shillelagh. I wish I would have known about this book before we took our daughter to Ireland! Continue reading
An Irish sheep peeks up from grazing. In Irish, the word sheep is caora, pronounced kwee-rah. Lamb is uain, pronounced oon-in.
The countryside of verdant Ireland is a patchwork quilt of barley and oats fields, ribbons of blue rivers, and pasture lands dotted by cows and sheep and squared off by low, grey stone walls. With a mild, humid climate and grassy rolling hills, farm life thrives. After we spent 2 weeks driving and hiking around Ireland, visiting stunning churches and incredible landscapes, our 2 1/2 year old daughter was asked what she liked best about her trip to Ireland; she replied “baa-baa sheep!” Here is a craft for fellow young animal-lovers to make their own wooly Irish sheep. Continue reading