The Quest of the Warrior Sheep

The Quest of the Warrior SheepThe Quest of the Warrior Sheepbegs to be read aloud—sadly, I read it to myself so I had to imagine all the baaing and bad puns in my head. It may need to be our next read aloud with the kids, though.

The story is about, well, the quest of the warrior sheep—a group of five rare breed sheep. When a cellphone drops from the sky, Sal—the oldest and most superstitious sheep—assumes that it’s the Baaton of Lord Aries and that they must go on a quest to return the Baaton to him or else Lambad will destroy all of Sheepdom! (See? How do you not bleat the word “Baaaaaaton”? And “Laaaambaaad” for that matter?)

It turns out that the cellphone belongs to Luke, a tech-smart inadvertent thief who is sorely lacking in common sense—the cellphone contains the evidence of him breaking into a bank electronically, which he only did on a dare to prove he could. When Neil, the guy who planned out the robbery, told him to get rid of the phone, Luke pitched it out of the hot air balloon they were in, and thus it landed on the head of Sal the sheep. Now they need to get that cellphone back.

At this point the story gets really crazy, because Tony—neighbor to the sheep farm—thinks the hot air balloon is a UFO and that the sheep were abducted. He calls the TV station, which gets reporter Nisha Patel involved. Ida and her grandson Tod want to offer a reward for the return of their rare breed sheep, but it turns out that someone has stolen all their money. And so all the threads are tenuously connected.

Along the way, we also meet Neil’s Very Nasty Boss, an affectionate but easily distracted sheepdog, a grumpy llama, and the mysterious organization of British Alien Research Military Intelligence (BARMI for short). The convoluted and silly plot can’t possibly be covered in any useful detail, but all these threads run concurrently through the story, occasionally intersecting, until finally it all comes together in the end. It’s a crazy and unpredictable ride. It reads like a Shaun the Sheep movie, and I kept imagining it as animated by Nick Park (if you don’t understand what you just read, do yourself a favor and check out this and this to get you started).

Overall, it’s a delightfully silly book, with some messages about not making assumptions, trusting your friends, and how help can come from unexpected places.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid


It’s a British story with a British sense of humor. The words aren’t particularly Americanized, which is good, because some of them are critical to the wordplay that permeates the text. Context is usually plenty to figure out what the words mean, but kids who need to know the meaning of every word they read may get a bit frustrated (or you may get frustrated continually explaining what “nicked” and “rucking” mean). Some of the jokes (like BARMI/barmy) may go over their heads.

A good bit of humor comes from the sheep taking things too literally. For instance, Wills, the youngest and brightest sheep, can read. There is much concern when he reads a sign that says “DOGS MUST BE CARRIED ON THE ESCALATOR”—the sheep panic because they don’t want to carry dogs, which are of course natural enemies of sheep.

Middle Grade Humor

When trapped in a glass pod on the London Eye with the thieves, the sheep all pass gas. A lot. To the point where it incapacitates the thieves.

Later, manure and llama spit both play critical roles in the sheep continuing to evade the thieves.


Each of the sheep is its own stereotype. Sal is the older female sheep, superstitious, set in her ways, quoting the prophecies and interpreting reality to suit them, yet someone the others look up to, even as they’re skeptical of her.

Wills is our main protagonist in a lot of ways. He’s young and small—often referred to as a lamb—but he sees things the way they are better than anyone else. The others recognize his knowledge and often defer to him. He has learned to read, which comes in handy on a frequent basis. His understanding of the human world far exceeds that of the other sheep.

Links is a Lincoln Longwool with floppy curls. He’s the rapper of the group, creating raps on the fly to talk about their adventures.

Laycey is a pretty little sheep, and a total ditz. She’s worried about fashion, she’s gullible, and she’s easily freaked out.

Oxo is the ram who spends much of his time head butting stuff. He literally deals with every issue head on. Sometimes this is helpful, but most of the time he’s illustrating how limited he is. He’s also the one who starts the farting in the London Eye.

The people fit and defy some stereotypes, too. Luke is a math and technology genius, but he’s staggeringly stupid in some other ways. This keeps him sympathetic, as he didn’t get himself into trouble maliciously, and once he figures out what he’s done, he wants to make up for it.

The Very Nasty Boss turns out to be a woman. She’s a wealthy woman who seems nice and polished on the outside, but she’s ruthless. She’s very competent and capable—she can fly a helicopter very well. Her biggest fault, as is common in so many villains, is hiring help that’s less competent than she is.

Nisha is the beautiful reporter that Tony get a crush on, but surprisingly she finds him sweet and she doesn’t mind when her light suits end up covered with manure or mud. Tony may believe in aliens, but he’s not a complete idiot. Ida and Tod are country bumpkins in a lot of ways, but they aren’t stupid, either.


Neil and his Very Nasty Boss have no care for whose lives they end or ruin. They’re gleeful when they think the sheep have been blown to smithereens. They leave Luke in the lurch when they try to escape.

BARMI’s approach to things is to blow them up. When they believe Tony that the sheep were infected with alien technology, their response is a bomb.

Luke is repeatedly called a geek and a geek-o-nerd in derisive ways, even though it’s his brain and skill that allowed the robbery to happen at all.


For young fans of British humor or the claymation of Nick Park, this book is a fun read. The plot is twisty, there are tons of characters, and a lot of the humor comes from wordplay, so it might be a challenge for young readers on their own. It’s a fantastic read aloud, though. And I think my 10 and 11 year old kids will find it laugh out loud funny, whether they read it independently or out loud as a family.


The Quest of the Warrior Sheep by Christine and Christopher Russell
Published in 2011 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
First in a series
Read my son’s copy


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