Chapter 2: Russell and the mystery of the lost tennis ball
What's all the noise, Swans?” Russell shouted over the squealing and kerfuffle.
"We've lost our ball!” called one of the swans. It might have been Sydney, it might have been Sam. It was always very difficult to tell the swans apart.
Sophie Squirrel put down her yoga mat and rested her paws on her hips. “You definitely can't play tennis without a ball. Why don't you go and look for it? Perhaps we could all have a bit of peace then.”
“I'll go!” shouted Russell (as loud as hedgehogs can shout, which is actually not very loud. It's more like a loud-ish whisper). Russell thought that it would probably take the swans ages to find the ball. They were not very good at getting underneath the sort of places a ball might roll, and sometimes they got their necks tangled up trying to look very quickly in all directions.
He had a poke about under a few bushes, but couldn't see it. He put his snuffly nose into the three nearest tree trunks, but there was no ball. As quickly as his little legs (very little legs, actually) could go, he scuttled under the big weeping willow tree and towards the Malmsbury Ginger Baker's Gingerbread House. Russell loved the gingerbread house, it smelled delicious. But after the last time (or the pink marshmallow sofa fiasco, as he like to call it), Russell remembered that he definitely must NOT nibble at the furniture. He stood up as high as he could on his back legs and pressed the Smartie doorbell.
'Ding dong' it rang, and Russell heard gingerbread footsteps running towards the door...