Harry and the Poisonous Centipede's Big Adventure
Harper Trophy, January, 2003.
Trade paperback, 180 pages.
Young readers who have enjoyed the earlier book Harry the Poisonous Centipede, will be happy to find that Lynne Reid Banks has provided them with a book of new adventures of the likeable little arthropod. The amusing bug's eye view of the world we all inhabit makes the tale not only enjoyable but is also subtly instructive.
Harry has been warned by his mother about all sorts of dangers that exist in the outside world. There are flying swoopers (eagles), hard-air prisons (jars that people who like insects use for specimens), and worst of all, there are Hoo-mins (humans) that either collect bugs or try to stop them (kill them). They all live in a world that has no-end puddles (the ocean) and can be easily trapped by a Hoo-Min in a straight-up hard thing (a shoebox).
At the beginning of the story Harry is captured by a small Hoo-Min, who adds him to his growing collection of insects, spiders and dung beetles. Harry and the other prisoners are miserable because they are starving. It seems that the boy does not read books, therefore he has no idea of what the proper requirements for his prisoners are. The big jail break occurs when the boy's mother comes in to clean his room, is startled and ends up spilling the entire collection on the floor, breaking all the bottles and allowing the prisoners to escape. Even though he has now escaped, Harry shows loyalty by going back to rescue George the other centipedes. Adventures begin to follow one after another. The centipedes are dropped from the air by a flying swooper (eagle) into the no-end puddle (ocean), meet their distant relatives (marine centipedes) which they learn to dislike, escape the terrible army ants and finally end up in a straight-up hard thing (shoe box) and threatened by a hairy biter (badger). They are released from this serious situation when something bites the hairy bottom of the hairy biter. Harry's mother has come to his rescue, and all ends well with the two little centis happy and comfortable back in their dark, damp tunnel.
The whimsical and amusing drawings of illustrator, Tony Ross, add even more humor to the story of Harry and George. The facial expressions are hilarious, and add a great deal to the enjoyment of this story about the world under our feet.
--Sarah Reaves White
Harry and the Poisonous Centipede's Big Adventure is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the February, 2003 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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