Published by Simon & Schuster, 2019.
This is the first book in a new illustrated fiction series for young readers. It’s actually two adventures in one book which I liked as it really gives you chance to get into the series and get to know Harry.
Harry is a very plump ginger guinea pig. He lives with his friend and owner, seven-year-old Billy. Harry is driven by a love of food and his fierce loyalty to Billy. Harry is food obsessed. He is always eating or thinking about his next meal; he even dreams about food! It’s this pursuit of food which causes all his problems.
The Adventures of Harry Stevenson is packed full of hilarious escapades, scrapes and mishaps – all with Harry at the centre. Life, it turns out, is very perilous for a guinea pig.
In the first story, tempted by fresh dandelions, Harry ventures out of his cage and into the wilds of the outdoors. This is a big mistake as the family are mid-house move and he ends up getting left behind. For the rest of the book, Harry must use all his wit and cunning as he races to reunite with Billy. He’s fearless in his mission, taking blind leaps of faith off a wall and from a bike basket and onto a dog.
In the second story, it’s the occasion of Billy’s eighth birthday. On the day of the party, Harry drifts off to sleep thinking about spaghetti and mistakenly gnaws through the party balloon strings as he sleeps. He gets tangled up in them and, whoosh, he’s off on an aerial adventure! The party guests mount a rescue mission and Harry does his best to avoid danger, which takes many forms – from seagulls’ beaks to footballers’ studs.
I love the look of the book! The neon orange of the illustrations is great fun and really contributes to the book’s appeal. Harry himself is super cute and loveable. He’s wonderfully expressive, whether fleeing at full-speed from a cat, teetering precariously on a moving football or peeking out from a pizza box.
The book is light-hearted and very funny. There are some more sober moments too, mainly concerning Billy’s loneliness after the house move and his anxiety about making new friends. These issues are handled in a sensitive and reassuring way.
The book is fast-paced with lots of action. This, combined with fairly short chapters, makes it ideal for newly confident readers and those who are ready to read independently. I think young readers will love it and they’ll be excited to go on more adventures with Harry!
Suitable for children aged 6+
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me this book to review.
* The pictures in my review don’t do the neon orange justice.