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Scotton, Rob 1960-

Scotton, Rob 1960-

Personal

Born September 26, 1960, in England; married; wife's name Liz (an artist). Education: Leicester Polytechnic, graduate (with honors).

Addresses

Home and office—Rutland, England. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Commercial illustrator and author; graphic designer with work appearing on cards as well as on ceramics, glassware, and other household items produced by Portmeirion Studio.

Awards, Honors

Border's Original Voice Award, Parents' Choice Highly Commended designation, International Reading Association honor, Kate Greenaway Award shortlist, Booksense Best New Illustrator Award shortlist, Sheffield Book-of-the-Year Award shortlist, and Utah Beehive Award shortlist, all 2005, all for Russell the Sheep; Coventry Inspiration Book designation shortlist, 2006, for Russell and the Lost Treasure.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED PICTURE BOOKS

Russell the Sheep, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.

Russell and the Lost Treasure, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.

Go to Sleep, Russell the Sheep, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2007.

Russell's Christmas Magic, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2007.

Sidelights

A bicycle ride through the rolling British countryside, with its picturesque hillsides dotted with fluffy white sheep, inspired popular commercial illustrator Rob Scotton to create the first of his playful picture books starring a woolly sheep named Russell. As Scotton recalled on his home page, after sorting through some greeting-card designs he had created, "I found the card I was looking for, a simple sheep character on an Easter Greetings card that I had painted in a previous life. I sat at my computer and began to doodle. Before long a boggle-eyed character was staring back from my screen. He was a simple, uncomplicated soul and so ridiculous." The first name that came to mind was Russell the Sheep, his residence Frogsbottom field. In the years since, Russell's adventures have played out, courtesy of Scotton's whimsical imagination, in the pages of Russell the Sheep, Russell and the Lost Treasure, and Go to Sleep, Russell the Sheep.

When readers first meet Russell in the award-winning Russell the Sheep, the sleepy creature has donned his long blue nightcap in readiness for bed, but finds himself tormented by insomnia. Plumping pillows, changing position, even sleeping in a tree bordering his pasture are each tried in turn, but to no avail. Nothing seems to work for the frustrated creature until the sheep resorts to counting things. Praising Russell the Sheep as "a droll bedtime read-aloud," Booklist contributor Carolyn Phelan noted that Scotton's "simple, satisfying story [is] told with economy and illustrated with wit."

Russell and the Lost Treasure finds Scotton's woolly hero inspired to hunt for buried treasure after spying what appears to be a treasure map dangling from the beak of a crow. The silly sheep, convinced that treasure is in his future, sets about creating a special treasure detector. After "detecting" a buried trunk filled with a variety of obviously cast-off objects, the sheep does stumble upon a treasure of sorts: an old camera that provides him with treasured photographs of his friends in the flock. "Scenes of popeyed livestock mugging for the camera capture the profound flakiness of the entire episode," noted a Kirkus Reviews writer, while Phelan commented that young readers will relish Russell's "exaggerated antics and expressions, as well as the final affirmation that his album of family and friends is the ‘best treasure ever.’"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Russell the Sheep, p. 2036; June 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Russell and the Lost Treasure, p. 89.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 2005, review of Russell the Sheep, p. 401.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of Russell the Sheep, p. 424; April 1, 2006, review of Russell and the Lost Treasure, p. 357.

Publishers Weekly, April 25, 2005, review of Russell the Sheep, p. 55; April 3, 2006, review of Russell and the Lost Treasure, p. 72.

School Library Journal, April, 2005, Be Astengo, review of Russell the Sheep, p. 110; May, 2006, Marge Loch-Wouters, review of Russell and the Lost Treasure, p. 104.

Times Educational Supplement, September 22, 2006, Jane Doonan, "Where Beasties Collide," p. 34.

ONLINE

Rob Scotton Home Page, http://www.robscotton.com (March 4, 2007).

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