The Hairy Hand by Robin Bennett – A Children’s book which will entertain all

This is a fantastic children’s book; with shades of magic, extravagant images and undoubted excitement. Funny and exciting, this is a book for children and young people who read well, are not easily shocked, and willing to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy a new perspective on life. A central theme is the relationship between parents and their child, exaggerated for effect, and well written in a very funny way. There is a journey with a quest, amazing discoveries, and an exciting climax. Taking the best of tales of magic and ridiculously bad circumstances, this tale of a child trying to make his life better is an involving read, and I enjoyed it greatly. I am happy to review a copy for the blog tour.

Septimus Plog  lives in a terrible village called Nowhere with his parents, extremely bad thief  Plog the Sneaker, and scary Gertrude Plog. Sept is most unlike his parents, being thoughtful and able to read. Having read all the books he can find, his favourite remains “How to be Happy”, with its messages such as “Think Positive”. After a particularly troublesome incident, Sept is sent to his late Uncle’s house to pay his respects and return with some treasure. He endures a terrifying journey, is baffled by his discoveries at the house, yet returns with the Hairy Hand, who seems to be set to change not only his life, but the lives of his parents and the locals. There are many perils to face for Sept as he tries to do his best for all, and the fantasy expands like much else in this book. Outrageous humour abounds on many levels; this is the best sort of children’s book when the story appeals to adults as sly satire and dark comedy.

This book kept me turning the pages with genuine enjoyment as soon as I got into the rhythm of a book which reminded me of Dahl in its exaggerated pictures of people and their motives. Not horror, but horrible, this represents children’s fantasies of riches and parties, evil plans and frightening tales, all within a complete fantasy world. I can imagine that this is safe reading for children as it is so far out their everyday experience that they know it is make believe rather than on the edge of real life. I would recommend it to children in this well presented format with some suitable line drawings and plenty of room for the imagination.

This is one of the rare occasions that I have read and reviewed a children’s book, but after buying books for my own offspring and teaching for about ten years, I think I have a reasonable idea what might entertain! I recently enjoyed a book shopping trip with a friend for her two daughters. Waterstones in Newcastle has some super books. We ranged from “Goodnight For Rebel  Girls” through to “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” and also the Paddington collection. Many hours of happy reading to come, I hope!