The Quest of the Warrior Sheep by Christopher Russell and Christine Russell
|The Quest of the Warrior Sheep by Christopher Russell and Christine Russell|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: I can only suspect the authors planned a book with the exuberance, wit, charm and action of the best Aardman Animations creations. I can only declare that they succeeded.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: March 2010|
Take five rare breed sheep, put them in a field, and wait for something to fall out the sky on to one of them. You'll find the result is that they gather, confer among themselves, work out their sacred God Aries is in trouble as he's lost the only thing to confer his power over the sacred Demon of sheep, Lambad, and decide to take the fallen object up North to return it. A journey that will take them into London in a market truck, down the Underground, and so much more on their epic journey.
Of course the truth is a little more mundane - the fallen object is something that will give the game away for a couple of inept bank swindlers, and they are going to want it back. And before you can pause for breath, there is an almighty cross-country chase, for sheep, criminals, the sheeps' owners, the media and more.
I loved this book from the first chapter to the last. The most engaging plot - just witness the brilliant way cameo characters are wrapped back into the fold of the story when we least expect them - is matched by the brilliant way the sheep are conveyed. The five have superb and distinctive characters, from the frail beauty, to the spunky mother, to the thinker, to the dreadlocked rapper (don't ask) to the, er, comfort eater.
And through the brilliance of it all I could see every beat of the story unfold. There is a lot I could drop into my review but daren't for spoiling it, but touches such as the passing humans' responses to the sheep, and the surprising switches in location, transport mode and scenery, are all aspects of it.
Right from the off I could see this as being a perfect film pitch for Aardman Animations - Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and all that lot. It would be right up the street for their audience, with perfect family friendly fun, such a similar poise and wit, and such free-flowing exuberant action. I see the publishers have put a 9+ badge onto my copy, but I can't see a problem with those younger lapping this up - as I am perfectly happy to admit I did.
At the last gasp of 2009 I find possibly my children's title of the year. It's a pity it won't be in the High Street til March 2010, with the sequel even further on from there. But this is so joyous, I'm sure the wait will be baaaa-rely noticed.
I must thank Egmont's kind people for my review copy.
For further woolly reads, you might like Derek the Sheep by Gary Northfield.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Quest of the Warrior Sheep by Christopher Russell and Christine Russell at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Quest of the Warrior Sheep by Christopher Russell and Christine Russell at Amazon.com.
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