We defy anyone -- child or grown-up -- to resist the google-eyed charm of Russell, the insomniac sheep who debuted in Rob Scotton's delightful picture book Russell the Sheep. In this sequel, Russell goes hunting for lost treasure in Frogsbottom Field. Armed with the Super Duper Treasure Seeker, a fabulous invention of Rube Goldberglike complexity, he searches high and low (also up and down, in and out, over and under!). Then, just as he is about to give up, Russell finds an old trunk. What's inside is indeed a treasure…just not the one he expected. It's all goofy fun, and Scotton's hilariously detailed illustrations are absolutely priceless: Pay particular attention to Russell's stocking cap -- a yards-long, blue-and-white-striped affair with a life of its own!
The fleecy, fleet-footed insomniac introduced in Russell the Sheep returns in all his striped stocking-capped glory for another picture-book romp, this time on the trail of treasure. When Russell spies a tattered map that hints at treasure buried in his own Frogsbottom backyard, he springs into action. With his new invention, the Super-Duper Treasure Seeker, in hand, the hunt is on. Scotton's smattering of spot illustrations charts the initially exasperating results. "What's a sheep to do?" Russell cries in frustration. But the gadget doesn't let him down and the woolly hero recovers a locked treasure chest from deep underground. Now he wonders how to make the most of the only real bit of "treasure" in the trunk-a flash camera he deems "older than my dad!" Readers will likely delight in the funny results as much as Russell does. Scotton's sweetly comic cast of ping-pong ball-eyed sheep is still a gas to behold in these boisterous watercolors. Ever-changing perspectives make readers feel a part of the activity, and the visual antics of Russell's frog sidekick, Frankie, make for an additional source of silly amusement. The ample borders around many of the full-page illustrations make a smooth transition to photo frames, as Russell makes humorous use of his buried bounty. Ages 3-7. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Inspired by the Lost Treasure of Frogsbottom map, Russell the sheep creates his treasure-seeking device and hunts all over the grounds to reveal the treasure. Frankie the frog quietly accompanies Russell through the whole adventure. Due to the futile efforts of the high and low, over and under search, Russell discards the treasure-seeking contraption by sending it down the hill. Suddenly, the machine sends out a signal as it rests at the base of a tree. Filled with renewed hope and energy, the sheep and frog tunnel underground and bring out the treasure chest. With a turn of the convenient key already in the lock, they find a collection of old odds and ends. Although a bit disappointed with the lackluster treasure, Russell uses the old camera that was nestled in the chest and takes lots of pictures of his family and friend. As the twosome look through the photos that Russell organized in an album, Russell discovers his true and precious treasure. Along with his endearing, comical expressions and spirit of making the best of a situation, Russell has a sweet charm that Scotton portrays in the pleasantly colored illustrations. 2006, HarperCollins Children's Books, Ages 3 to 7.
Carrie Hane Hung
PreS-Gr 1-Russell, the fluffed-out sheep with the impossibly long, striped wool hat attempts to discover the Lost Treasure of Frogsbottom. After inventing a "Super-Duper Treasure Seeker," he searches high and low until he stumbles upon the buried chest down a long and winding hole. Once the box is opened, Russell is dismayed to find that it contains only old and useless stuff, including a camera that's "older than my dad!" But the camera works, and soon Russell is taking joyous snapshots of his extended family. In the conclusion, which might make more sense to adults than kids, Russell peruses these photos in an album and he decides that they are the real treasure. As in Russell the Sheep (HarperCollins, 2005), the art is done in muted blues, grays, and greens that contain small touches of humor for discerning readers. While not as strong a premise as in the original book, fans of Russell will welcome his return.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The woolly with the big personality and the extremely long nightcap (Russell the Sheep, 2005) finds a buried chest filled with-well, not the "treasure" he's expecting. Inspired by a glimpse of the tattered map in a passing crow's mouth, Russell sets to in his lab (doesn't every sheep have one?), constructs a treasure detector that resembles a robotic hockey stick and unearths a trunk. Though all he finds inside is miscellaneous junk, his disappointment doesn't last long; picking up a ratty old flash camera, he's soon happily taking snaps of his flock, friends and everything else. Scotton's scenes of popeyed livestock mugging for the camera capture the profound flakiness of the entire episode, and the final view of an ovine audience poring over the resulting photo album will have young viewers agreeing with Russell that he has found "The best treasure ever." Place this take on the value of family pictures alongside the similarly themed likes of Amy Hest's Guess Who, Baby Duck (2004) and Deborah Blumenthal's Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair, illus by Mary GrandPre (2001). (Picture book. 6-8)
Instantly recognizable, and lovable in his wholehearted approach to whatever he undertakes.