Review Blog

Oct 18 2019

Ask Hercules Quick by Ursula Dubosarsky

cover image Illus. by Andrew Joyner. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760296827.
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Alligators, Employment, Perseverance. What a funny, quirky chapter book! It is sure to appeal to children who have a sense of humour and like looking at imaginative oddities in their reading. Hercules Quick is a little boy who lives with his Aunt Alligator in a three storey apartment. Above him live the Elk family, below Professor Calamari an octopus, on the flat roo the turtle brothers and in the dark cellar, Queen Claude. Hercules really, really wants to own a box of magic tricks but doesn't have any money to use to buy it so is determined to get a job. He makes a sign, 'NEED SOMETHING DONE? ASK HERCULES QUICK!' And then begin his adventures as he tries to make enough money for the box.
Joyner's illustrations are eye-catching and expand on the narrative and will help the reader with the story, while enhancing the enjoyment with the humour of the colourful drawings. I loved the way that he drew a normal little boy surrounded with animals dressed in human clothes. On the end papers the reader will be introduced to all the characters in the story. Aunt Alligator is dressed in a suit with a large hat, Professor Calamari has long moustaches and a bowtie, while the Elk family each is an individual and the turtle brother have cute little hats. The reader will have to search for the shy Queen Claude.
The book is perfect for newly independent readers beginning to move from picture books to chapter books. The Contents page lists the six chapters and the story develops smoothly as Hercules manages to find some jobs and earn a very small amount of money which is not enough to buy the magic box of tricks. However readers will not be disappointed in the heart-warming conclusion as he discovers that there is real magic in the natural world.
Pat Pledger

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