Then, the first page of the entry on "Shepherd" from The Loyola Kids Book of Signs and Symbols by Amy Welborn. Remember how the book is organized - this first page has a basic explanation, and then the facing page has a more in-depth exploration of the symbol.
There is great depth and richness in the imagery of sheep and shepherd, not reducible to simplistic allusions to gentleness and lambs, as appealing as that may be. It has profound historical resonance in relation to Israel and its kings. It is about intimacy and recognition and protection, for, if you think about it, the rod and staff of Psalm 23 are not decorative. They are for support, they are for warding off enemies. The critique of contemporary shepherds implicit in all of the Scripture readings is directed at their weakness and failure to protect the sheep.