the Vermont state craft center in Burlington, director Rob Hunter says the shop can't keep Sweet Pea & Friends: The SheepOver
in stock. "It just flies out of here," he marvels.
Hunter is talking about John and Jennifer Churchman's children's book, a volume coauthored by the Vermont couple and filled with stunning photo-illustrations by John. "Sweet Pea," you see, is an adorable sheep — is there any other kind? — and the self-published picture book has really struck a chord, even outside of rural Vermont.
The Churchmans' many Facebook followers were the first to fall in love with the true tale of the ailing lamb, removed from her "friends" to convalesce in the farmers' greenhouse; with the ministrations of Dr. Alison, a country vet; and, of course, with the happy ending that I will not reveal here. (B-a-a-a-ck off!) The farmer/storytellers decided to embark on a crowdfunding campaign to raise the capital to produce their first book. It was instantly successful, and preorders poured in.
The fan base escalated even more after Elizabeth Bluemle, co-owner of Flying Pig Bookstore
in Shelburne and a contributor to Publishers Weekly's ShelfTalker blog
, wrote a glowing review of The SheepOver
in an October 2 post
And then something else happened. Fast.