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Russell the Sheep Paperback – May 31, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1–Russell can't sleep. While the other sheep are dozing off, he ponders the problem of insomnia. Is he too hot or too cold? Perhaps a better place would help. When nothing works, he tries counting things. He starts with his feet, and then moves on to the stars ("six hundred million billion and ten")–twice. Finally, the quintessential cliché comes to him, and he counts sheep. Russell nods off just as the new day dawns and the others awaken. Scotton makes a captivating debut with this comical tale. He illustrates it with a witty, engaging, and fluffy character bathed in calming blue hues. With his wide-eyed, startled expression; froggy sidekick; and animated, blue-and-white-striped nightcap, Russell will win the hearts of readers, who will want to look at the pictures over and over to catch all the clever detail.–Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Pres-Gr. 1. Russell is one wide-awake sheep. When the sky grows dark and the other sheep in Frogsbottom Field drift into slumbers, Russell's eyes ("BOING!") are wide open. It's not for lack of trying: he pulls a nightcap over his eyes, removes his wool, and uses a pillow. He tries different locations: a rusty car, a hollow tree, a high branch. And counting things: his legs, the stars, and finally (yawn) sheep. Even young children will relate to Russell's predicament in this simple, satisfying story told with economy and illustrated with wit. The artwork, in a cool palette of muted blues, greens, and grays, is subtle and pleasing. But the real fun here is in the details, from the fat sleeping sheep with their skinny legs pointing skyward to the small, expressive changes in Russell's round eyes. A droll bedtime read-aloud that will amuse those listening as well as those reading Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060598506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060598501
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rob Scotton is the author and illustrator of the bestselling Russell the Sheep and Russell and the Lost Treasure. His work can also be found on greeting cards, ceramics, textiles, prints, stationery, and glassware. An honors graduate of Leicester Polytechnic, Rob now lives in Rutland, England, with his wife, Liz, who is also an artist.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Rob Scotton delivers the goods in this funny kids' book about a sheep that can't sleep. While the resolution is somewhat predictable (he counts sheep) and puzzling (why is it that when he remembers to count himself, he falls asleep?), the book is filled with clever humor and enough visual delights to entertain both children and adults. The book shows many sources of insomnia, and approaches them with a reassuring tone, as well as very witty illustrations.

Scotton gives his sheep distinctive, quirky characters, and human-like habits. At night, one brushes his or her teeth, and another holds a teddy bear, and many of them fall asleep upside down (wool side up?), all four legs sticking straight up, and with nothing but patchwork quilts to cover them. All except, big-eyed Russell (looking a bit like Gromit the dog, another British import). Oh, how he struggles to sleep-each new solution brings its own unexpected problem: Perhaps it's too light, he reasons, but when he pulls his hat over his eyes, "the really dark scared him." He takes off his wool (!) jammies, thinking that "perhaps I'm just too hot," but the next vignetted picture shows him shivering away. He uses his friend the frog as a pillow, "but the pillow hopped away...hopping mad!" Like a child who attributes the insomnia to something external rather than internal, Russell looks for a better bedroom, outside his home of Frogsbottom Field. He discovers an alliterative list of adjectival objections: The uncovered trunk (completely safe, by the way) is too "cramped," the inside of a tree (filled with bats) is "too creepy," and the branch of a tree is "too crowded" with owls. (He's also too heavy for the branch, but Scotton's aim is fun, not physics.

He thought hard about what to do next.
Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Pragalos on October 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Great illustrations! All my children enjoy the book. It is fun for my 6 year old and short enough to keep the attention of my 3 year old. We read it just before bed and the storyline is perfect to help them get to sleep by counting sheep. The pictures are great and the story is overall just "cute" and fun to follow.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on May 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Russell is a sheep who just can't seem to fall asleep one night. He tries everything from counting the stars to locating the perfect sleeping spot. Nothing works for him. That is until he decides to count sheep! This works and Russell is finally asleep. By this time it's morning and all the other sheep are ready to start their day!

The cartoon like illustrations are full of detail. Lots for little eyes to llok at while the story is being read!

We would recommend this book to others. We feel that the book will entertain children in a wide variety of age groups. There is a little green frog that shows up though out the book. It's fun to discover what the will be up to next!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Samii Twirl on April 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I just bought this book for my 4 year old son Tommy. I read Russell to him last night before he went to sleep and he asked me to read it again and again. The illustrations are very spectacular and the we loved Russell the Sheep. i bet Rob Scotton is going to be a very famous author one day. This book would make a great gift for little boys and girls!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. S. Will on June 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This review first appeared in the "Ephrata (PA) Review":

This is the first time Scotton has put words to his illustrations to create a picture book. In his homeland of England, he is an illustrator of greeting cards, ceramics and other items. His illustrations of Russell are so fun and funny that he almost doesn't need words!

Russell's problem? He can't get to sleep. When people can't sleep, they count sheep. What do sheep do? Russell tries many strategies, including counting "six hundred million billion and ten" stars. Will he never fall asleep?

HarperCollins says two more books about Russell are already in the works. I predict young ones will be asking for Russell as they drop off to sleep at night.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Soccer Mom on April 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A friend told me to buy Russell the Sheep. He said that the drawings were phenomenal. I bought the book and agreed with him. My daughter loves looking at the pictures and my husband and I find the book very funny. We hope that Russell is one day on television or a movie.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gale Z on December 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Poor Russell has a hard time sleeping. He tries everything he can think of, including counting all of the stars in the sky-twice-but alas, no sleep for this sheep. Finally he tries the age old trick of counting the wooly, four-legged creatures all around him. When he remembers to count himself, he finally nods off.

Although this is his first picture book, Rob Scotton is not new to illustration. His work in Great Britain can be found on greeting cards, ceramics, textiles and more. He says that he has a lot of opportunities to observe sheep from his studio window. The clever graphics, monochromatic paintings of cottony sheep and his ability to put his whimsical sense of humor onto paper makes this book really stand out.

Russell the Sheep is on the list of finalists for the 2005 Original Voices award from Borders.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel's mom on April 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My son LOVES this book! It epitomizes life for him right now....always resisting naps and bedtime. Reading about Russell's inability to fall asleep is mutually hilarious for the two of us! The pictures are SO vivid, soft, and perfectly done; the moment I picked this book up at the bookstore I knew I had to go online to Amazon and order a copy for our collection (much less expensive)! Every kiddo deserves this one....and it's a fun read for parents, too.
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