Everybody thinks they know what sheep are like: they’re stupid, noisy, cowardly (‘lambs to the slaughter’), and they’re ‘sheepwrecking’ the environment. Or maybe not. Contrary to popular prejudice, sheep are among the smartest animals in the farmyard, fiercely loyal, forming long and lasting friendships. Sheep, farmed properly, are boons to biodiversity. They also happen to taste good and their fleeces warm us through the winter – indeed, John Lewis-Stempel’s family supplied the wool for Queen Elizabeth’s ‘hose’. Observing the traditional shepherd’s calendar, ‘The Sheep’s Tale’ is a loving biography of ewes, lambs, and rams through the seasons. Lewis-Stempel tends to his flock with deep-rooted wisdom, ethical consideration, affection, and humour.