Today is my stop on ‘The Adventures of Harry Stevenson.’ blog tour with a special guest post to celebrate the release of the first book in this hilarious new young fiction series from Ali Pye. Meet Harry Stevenson. He doesn’t live in a castle, or a witch’s cottage, or anywhere exciting like that. His home is in a flat with seven-year-old Billy and his mum and dad. At a first glance, Harry doesn’t seem any different from
your average guinea pig. He has ginger fur and sparkly black eyes and likes
nothing more than snacking on a piece of broccoli. But don’t be fooled! Harry may just want to sleep and eat (and then eat some more) but somehow he always manages to get swept up in adventures: whether it’s surfing the Pacific on a picnic plate or accidentally attaching himself to a helium balloon. This marvellous madcap adventure is bound to appeal to emerging readers with it’s witty and entertaining stories and vibrant, hilarious illustrations. I can see this series being hugely popular at school.
Top Five Animal Friendships in Children’s Books – Ali Pye
Friendship is an important theme of ‘The Adventures of Harry Stevenson’: Harry lives with the Smith family and his best friend is seven-year-old Billy Smith. Harry and Billy will do anything for each other, even though they can’t understand each other’s language. I’ve chosen my top five books that touch on the theme of friendships – three are between animals and humans, but I’ve included two between animals and animals because I think they’re such special books.
The Last Wild series by Piers Torday
This is a three-book series set in a dystopian future, where animals supposedly no longer exist as they have been wiped out by a virus. Twelve-year-old Kester, stuck in a prison-like children’s home, discovers two things: one, there are still animals in the world, and two, he can talk to them. Kester is rescued by a flock of pigeons, who fly him deep into the countryside to meet the last surviving creatures: the ‘last wild’. He sets out with a group of animals to mediate between animals and humans in order to find a cure, forming friendships with a bossy cockroach, a plucky wolf cub and a noble stag along the way.
Squishy McFluff by Pip Jones and Ella Okstad
Squishy McFluff is the gorgeously fluffy and very cheeky star of several young fiction books. He’s in invisible kitten, who appears to an equally cheeky girl called Ava as she plays in the garden one day. Together they cook up all sorts of mischief, which can always be blamed on Squishy. Ava’s parents are driven to distraction, until they bring in clever Great Grandad Bill, who outwits the naughty pair. Pip Jones’ funny rhyming text is perfectly matched by Ella Okstad’s adorable characters.
The ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ series by Cressida Cowell.
I liked the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ films but I prefer the books because (of course) the characters are more complex. Hiccup is much less a natural hero, while his dragon Toothless is more stubborn and anarchic, not to mention a total drama queen. It’s enjoyable to see the two of them grow in stature over the series, as ‘Hiccup the Useless’ and his supposedly ‘Common or Garden’ friend face trials and tribulations together to become great heroes, the hard way.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and Garth Williams
‘Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ asks eight-year-old Fern, as her father heads out to kill a runty piglet born overnight. So begins this classic children’s novel, which addresses themes of loneliness, friendship, death and love in the most beautiful, clear and true language. The book tells the story of a lonely piglet called Wilbur, who is saved from being slaughtered by his friend Charlotte the spider. Charlotte weaves words about Wilbur into her web, bringing fame to the farm and saving Wilbur’s life. It is unsentimental and addresses sophisticated topics while being charming, funny and accessible, resonating with children and adults alike.
Bartholomew and the Bug by Neal Layton
This is the first childrens’ book I bought as an adult, just for me, because I loved it. It tells the story of Bartholomew, a chilled out bear who lives at the top of a mountain. Sometimes he looks down at the city below and wonders what it’s like, but never gets around to visiting. His indolent life is disrupted by the arrival of a manic bug who is desperate to reach the bright lights of the city as he only has one day to live. Bartholomew helps him. When the two friends eventually reach the city they are disappointed because there are no lights – but then it gets dark, the lights start to twinkle, and soon ‘the whole place was awash with luminescent glow’ (I love that sentence). Thousands of bugs arrive TO PARTY! I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you; check it out for yourself, it’s great. The illustrations are brilliant, so free and full of joy, and the text is wry and funny.
Thank to Ali for this lovely guest post, some fab recommendations of books to read.
Ali Pye is the author and illustrator of a number of picture books,
including You Can Never Run Out of Love and Rosie Is My Best Friend. The
Adventures of Harry Stevenson is her first fiction series and was inspired
by a real-life guinea pig (who turned out to be a girl and was re-named
Harriet Stevenson). She lives in Twickenham with her husband,
children and two guinea pigs: Beryl and Badger.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more guest posts and reviews.
Thank you to Olivia and Simon & Schuster for inviting me to join in with the blog tour and for my gifted copy of this charming book. ‘The Adventures of Harry Stevenson,’ is availably to buy now online or from any good bookshop.