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Children's Fiction General

The Sweetest One of All

by (author) Jean Little

illustrated by Marisol Sarrazin

Scholastic Canada Ltd
Initial publish date
Sep 2008
General, New Baby
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2008
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 5
  • Grade: p to 1


One by one, the baby animals are born on the farm, each making another barnyard mother yearn for a baby of her own. A warm-hearted, gently humorous story about a mother's love.

About the authors

Jean Little was born in Taiwan in 1932. Her parents were both doctors. Jean grew up in Ontario and graduated from the University of Toronto. She was born with a severe eye problem and is severely visually impaired. A special "talking" computer assists her with her writing. She has a retired seeing-eye dog named Ritz and a new one named Pippa, with whom she travels. The author focuses on her experiences from the time she was a child through young adulthood in her autobiography, Little by Little, and continues her story in Stars Come Out Within. The books, which will appeal to children 10 and older, are both humorous and poignant as Jean describes living with a disability and the ridicule she sometimes experienced as a result, as well as her love for the world of reading and books. Jean's books include From Anna, Listen for the Singing, Stand In The Wind, Mama's Going To Buy You a Mockingbird, Hey World, Here I Am!, Look through My Window, Emma's Yucky Brother, The Belonging Place, and Mine For Keeps. Listen for the Singing was the Canada Council Children's Literature Award winner in 1977. Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird was the CLA Book of the Year in 1985.
Jean Little's first book, Mine for Keeps, won the Little, Brown Children's Book Award in 1962 and was republished by Viking Penguin in 1995. It tells the story of Sally Copeland, a 10 year old with cerebral palsy, and her adjustment to being home after spending several years in a special school. You'll find that several of the themes in this book appear in a number of the author's other books: dealing with a handicap and the responses of others, fitting in, and adjusting to new situations and surroundings.


Jean Little's profile page

Marisol Sarrazin is an internationally reknowned children's books illustrator. She has published more than sixty books which have been translated into many languages. Her work has already earned her numerous awards, including the Mr. Christie Award for the best book published in French in Canada in 1998. Her name was also on the lists of finalists for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrators Medal from the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians for 2001.

Marisol Sarrazin's profile page


  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Commended, Toronto Public Library First & Best Booklist

Librarian Reviews

The Sweetest One of All

Four new picture books testify to the power and range of this appealing format. Many parents look for picture books to share with their very young children. For them, Jean Little’s The Sweetest One of All, joins a rich tradition of books celebrating the love of a mother for her child. Soothing words and gentle artwork wrap the listener and teller in a warm blanket of love and pride. “Who am I?” asks the lamb. “You”, the sheep said, “are the loveliest lamb in the land.” The cow decides she too needs a lamb, but is informed that what she wants is a calf. Toddlers will enjoy the pattern, the alliteration, and learning the names of each small offspring – from “cutest calf in the clover” to “glorious goslings in the garden.” What saves this book from the sentimental is Little’s humour and the same lively dialogue that characterized Pippin the Christmas Pig and Listen, Said the Donkey.

Marisol Sarrazin’s soft chalk pastels celebrate the mothers’ affection. Grass is a luminous green and flowers bloom in this peaceable kingdom. Sarrazin has made a specialty of animal characters in earlier books. Here every second spread features a full-page illustration in which an animal baby receives an encouraging lick or a nurturing nuzzle. But as the animal illustrations suggest with their almost human faces (all rounded lines and gentle eyes), this is a book designed to be shared with a small child – and at the end a woman assures her own little one that he/she is the “sweetest one of all.”

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2009. Volume 32 Number 1.

The Sweetest One of All

Barnyard babies — lambs, foals, goslings, piglets — frisk through fields of green. Each time a baby is born, another animal yearns for her very own... What kind of baby will she have? This gentle story features soft, endearing chalk pastel illustrations.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.

Other titles by Jean Little

Other titles by Marisol Sarrazin

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