Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 15, 2022

Book Giveaway: BAA, BAA, TAP SHEEP by Kenda Henthorn

Kenda Henthorn has a new picture book, BAA, BAA, TAP SHEEP, illustrated by Lauren Gallegos and published by Sleeping Bear Press. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Kenda and Lauren.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments By Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!


As a trio of tired tots settles into bed for the night, the sheep who should be helping them count down to slumber kick up their hooves instead in an energetic dance performance. Starting with one little lamb and counting up to 10, these “sleep” sheep tap, waltz, tango, and even boogie as they get their nighttime groove on. But finally, after their energy is danced out, nap sheep lull everyone to sleep.


BAA, BAA TAP SHEEP was a blast to write and I used an entirely new (to me) process to write it!

I’m usually more of a muse-chasing, fly/write by the seat of my pants kind of person. That approach is oftentimes fun and full of surprises, too, but the initial outcomes (again, for me) were less than stellar and the revisions required some heavy lifting. After years of what we’ll call my “Rambling Rhymers” phase (looong, weak storylines, where the rhyme clearly steered the story), I decided to try another approach.  I set three writing goals for this project:

Goal #1Keep My Word Count Low!!

Goal #2 – Incorporate a Nursery Rhyme Tie-In.

And Goal #3 – Can There Please Be Dancing, too?!

Goal #1:  Write something short and snappy, ensuring the story remained the headliner, whether it was written in rhyme or prose.  AND, I set an additional personal challenge of keeping the final manuscript under 200 words. Challenge accepted!

Goal #2:  Incorporate a Nursery Rhyme Tie-In.  Whether it’s for reading enjoyment or writing inspiration, Nursery Rhymes are basic and bouncy, and they’re visually engaging for kids of all ages.  I wanted to focus on finding a way to incorporate some of those successful formulas into my writing. So while trolling through a list of old-time Nursery Rhymes, I paused on the old Baa, Baa, Black Sheep title. Hmmm. I loved that old rhymer.  The rhythmic, lyrical beat seemed so fun and familiar.  Maybe something fresh and special could be done with that. I kept that one in mind, and a few others.

I set Goal #3 because, well, who doesn’t love the TV show, Dancing With The Stars!  (I know you’re with me!  Who else is a DWTS groupie?)  The dance steps and choreography, the costumes and audience adoration?  I secretly longed to be that graceful myself, but alas, a dance-themed book is as good as it gets for me  (…and no toes were stepped on in the making!)

With that writing Goal #3 in mind, I began an online search of dancing terms and found a slew of fun-sounding dance steps…jazz, jive, tango, tap…TAP!  Jackpot!  I could revamp the Baa, Baa, Black Sheep Nursery Rhyme title with BAA, BAA, TAP SHEEP, and perfectly incorporate a mash-up of all three of my writing Goals!

With the discovery of that one little word (TAP), the title was set, and its rhyme scheme and characters were predetermined (same rhythm, and a flock of sheep).

Next, I checked Rhymezone for short words that rhyme with TAP, and quickly found RAP and NAP.  Immediately, three characters began taking shape.  There would be a flock of TAP sheep (practicing swaying, slow dance moves to help toddlers get to sleep), a rowdy RAP sheep, followed by a lullaby-playing NAP sheep…which right there, gave me the makings of a three-part play.

ACT I – Status quo.  The sheep are contentedly Tapping.

ACT II:  Interrupted by one raucous Rapping sheep.  (This was my actual art note, by the way…[Illustration Note:  One persistent sheep doesn’t want the fun to end.  He commandeers the music and starts a crazy fast dance round, which startles the babies awake and tests the skeptical sheep’s new dancing skills.)]

ACT III:  By the finale, the whole flock, and kids, too, are Napping.

I swear, this book practically wrote itself before I even opened a WORD document!

I’d taken dancing lessons as a child (and hated it at the time [pre-DWTS era] since I wanted to be outside playing sports with my big brothers instead), but I remembered some of those very beginner dance lesson instructions.  Those early memories quickly became my opening stanza (fitted into the old Baa, Baa, Black Sheep rhythm), with some extra fun added in:

Baa, baa, tap sheep,

Learning how to dance.

Heel, toe, slide step,

Hokey-pokey, prance.


Gliding <Baa!>

Dipping <Ha!>

Leaping <Tra-la-la!>

My Goal #1 (keeping everything short and snappy, and under 200 words), was a challenge.  Remember me? “Rambling Rhymer” here?  I had to be doubly diligent in committing to NOT using pronouns, conjunctions, or descriptions and ensuring most sentences stayed at just two to five words in length. Surprisingly, when the manuscript was complete, critiqued and polished, my word count was 198! SCORE!

This manuscript, BAA, BAA, TAP SHEEP also got me my agent, the wonderful Allison Remsheck (Stimola Literary Studio), after she’d critiqued it for me at an SCBWI conference.  She, too, adored the idea of a little lamb dancing in a tutu!!

She and my editor, the amazing Barb McNally (Sleeping Bear Press), were both on board with keeping the story tight.  Even so, I think I surprised Barb during our editing process, when I shouted, “Yeesss!” to her suggestion that we delete one word.  (Not the usual reaction she gets when deleting an author’s work!)  The book’s final word count came in at 197.  I proudly proclaim Challenge Met!!

When a manuscript is that light on words though, an author must trust that the illustrator (as well as the Editor and Art Director, too) all “get” the author’s vision.  In this case, they certainly did!  Award-winning illustrator, Lauren Gallegos did a stellar job of interpreting my words and illustration notes, to create The Most Gorgeous (aetheric, lovely, lively, and light) artwork to best support and supplement this story!  More so than I could have wished for or dreamed!! It’s truly a beautiful creation!

So my new approach to writing, and my advice to other creatives now, too, is to mix things up, mash them up and “TAP” into something new!

Try setting goals for yourself and your writing. The results could be golden…and as easy as counting sheep!  BAA-lieve me, it works!!

BAA, BAA, TAP SHEEP is leaping into bookstores everywhere May 15th! ENJOY!!

Best of Books – indy bookstore:


Barnes & Noble:


Kenda is originally from Pennsylvania and grew up behind the scenes on her parents’ western movie sets. Those dramas fueled her dreams since she was a kid on a pony.

She works in the aviation industry now, so it’s no surprise that her writing inspirations and aspirations are sky-high, too! Kenda resides in Oklahoma and when the winds aren’t sweeping down the plains, she enjoys flying, kayaking, and riding horses or her motorcycle. (Vroom-vroom!)

She has served as a Regional Coordinator for the Oklahoma SCBWI and a Best in Rhyme Award committee member and judge.

Kenda Henthorn | Kenda Henthorn

Kenda Henthorn | Facebook

Kenda Henthorn (@kendahenthorn) / Twitter

Kenda Henthorn (@kendakay24) • Instagram photos and videos


Lauren Gallegos earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Illustration from Cal State Fullerton in 2009 and has been illustrating ever since. When it comes to stories, Lauren has always loved books that warm the heart and touch the soul; timeless narratives that speak to your inner child. As a young girl she loved to pour over illustrations that were rich and full. Lauren still loves books that take you to mysterious places and let your imagination run wild with possibilities. Her biggest illustration influences are Chris Van Allsburg, Loren Long, Chris Sheban, Arthur Rackham, and Scott Gustafson to name only a few.

Lauren is always looking for opportunities to illustrate great stories with the desire to see how her work will impact the young minds of our future. She is a proud member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Southern California with her husband and 2 young children.

Kenda, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love the fun of this book. Dancing sheep, perfect rhyme, and fantastic illustrations is the recipe for a wonderful book. Kids will love it. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. this is absolutely darling


    • This sounds adorable! Congratulations!

      Kathy, I follow your blog and I have reposted to Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for all you do!


  2. What a delightful story, Kendra! And Lauren’s illustrations are wonderful as well. Congratulations to you both.
    Thank you for sharing your goals, too.


  3. Sounds like an adorable story! Thank you for sharing your process in creating Kendra. I’m posting on FB and tweeting about it. Best of luck!


  4. What a great mashup, Kendra–the words are so jazzy and under 200 count, too! Plus adorable illustrations. Kudos! I subscribe to this blog.


  5. Loved reading about this book’s journey! It looks like something I should own. Good luck and thanks for sharing! I subscribe to this blog and have tweeted about the post/giveaway.


  6. Congrats, Kendra and Lauren! (I’m signed up for the emails and I RTed.)


  7. Absolutely love the journey of a story! Can’t wait to read this.


  8. Congratulations, Kendra and Lauren! This book looks adorable. I’ve shared it on Twitter.


  9. Loved hearing about your process. Playing tennis with a net brings out the creativity. Congrats!


  10. Great interview! Thank you for sharing this behind-the-scenes look at your adorable and fun book! Congratulations!
    Retweeted and subscribed.


  11. This is an excellent post and one I will keep in mind as I work on my manuscripts. I like the idea of setting goals for my manuscript before I start drafting. I’m an email subscriber and can’t wait to read this book as mentor text. I shared on social:


  12. Those sheep look like pretty good dancers. I hope everyone gets a proper sleep after all that exercise. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Baa, Baa Tap Sheep.
    I’ve shared:, and tweeted:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day!!


  13. Baaa-utyful! Perfect baby shower gift too 😍


  14. Wow -what a success story! Clever and adorable=winning combination. Congrats!


  15. This sounds adorable and I love the illustrations! Congratulations on a great rhymer that doesn’t ramble!


  16. What a sweet book! Thanks for the writing tips. They are good ones. Thanks for the post. I subscribe to your blog by email.


  17. This is such a clever title and adorable illustrations. I can’t wait to read it! I shared on Twitter and I received your daily blog to my email.


  18. Such dancey, rhymey, fun! Can’t wait to get my hands on this story and read it! Awesome job!


  19. This book looks so fantastic!! Good work, Kenda!! Beautiful illustrations, Lauren! Sounds like a rhythmic pleasure.


  20. Dancing sheep! I love this idea! Congratulations Kenda and Lauren on this adorable book. I enjoyed learning about your book’s journey, too.

    Kathy, I shared on twitter and get your blog, daily.


  21. So cute and I love Dancing With the Stars! I just found out a new friend/neighbor does too and I am hoping we can catch some of the next season together! Congratulations on your book.


  22. Very cute! DWTS is great! Congratulations, Kenda and Lauren!

    I follow by email. 🙂


  23. This looks adorable! I agree, the illustrations really enhance the text. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)


  24. What fun! Cannot wait to see those dancing sheep in action! And thank you, Kendra, for sharing your inspiration for this story.


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