The Warrior Sheep Go West by Christopher Russell and Christine Russell
|The Warrior Sheep Go West by Christopher Russell and Christine Russell|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Where the original was Aardman Animation, this is Dreamworks - brasher, bigger in scope, but losing some of the magic of before.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: February 2011|
|Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd|
I like these Warrior Sheep, and the scrapes they get in by following their ancient prophecies and in trying to save their world. Last time they thought a mobile phone was itself a call from the gods, but still did have to save the day. Here they misread a page on the Internet - and if you can't accept Internet-using sheep, your children surely will - and decide to go to America to save their whole species.
It's very obvious, certainly to the adult reader, what mistake they've made. But once again the five rare breeds are forced to undergo a road-trip, and once again they have to measure up against evil-minded humans - and nobody will foresee what they want the sheep for.
As I say, I like these Warrior Sheep, but I loved them more the first time. There was a charming quaintness contrasting with the modern style of the story, and it was purely pleasurable to see the sheep hitch-hike, ride the London Eye etc. Here the sequel almost successfully hides its similar outline - questing sheep with the wrong end of the stick on a cross-country adventure - by furthering the scope of the story, but the freshness does not get maintained purely by making the sheep travel farther away.
So even though the faintly absurd scenes of sheep gambolling in Las Vegas (tee-hee) raise many smiles, they're smaller ones than before. The unguessable plot points are strong, the characterisation again fine, but the Russells have tried to repeat perfection, and failed.
That doesn't mean that the target audience will really see the difference. They will find the granny breaking out of prison amusing enough, the desert scenes dramatic enough, and the rapping from the dreadlocked black sheep Links still highly entertaining, as they should.
On its own this is an amusing roustabout sequel, and perfectly self-contained too. It doesn't struggle at all to be bright and fully entertaining, just to live under the light of the first book. Mind you, you've seen one sheep - any more are hardly likely to completely impress...
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Watch sheep get the poor end of the stick with the ridiculous Shadow Goblins by David Melling.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Warrior Sheep Go West by Christopher Russell and Christine Russell at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Warrior Sheep Go West by Christopher Russell and Christine Russell at Amazon.com.
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