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  • Margaret

The Bolds by Julian Clary

Spot and Sue are hyenas. Although they enjoy their life in the Masai Mara in Africa, they yearn for a change. When two English tourists have an unfortunate encounter with a crocodile, Spot and Sue enterprisingly pounce on the opportunity to steal their identities and embark on a new life in suburban England. It's an entirely rational decision and just the sort of thing any sensible hyena would do in their circumstances.

They call themselves Fred and Amelia Bold and adapt to life in a semi in Teddington with astonishing ease. Fred gets a job writing jokes (he's a hyena; laughter is his area), Amelia makes hats, and soon they have two children (Bobby and Betty). As long as they remember to keep their tails under wraps and don't rub their bottoms on any foliage when people are looking, nothing can possibly go wrong. Until it does.

Pretending you're not a hyena when you are in fact a hyena is actually quite difficult, and soon their nosy neighbour is on to the Bolds. What lengths will he go to discover their furry secret? And will the Bolds be able to rescue a friendly hyena chum from the terrible fate that awaits him in a nearby wildlife park? And will Mr Bold's jokes ever get any better (I can answer this. No they won't).

Inventively and amusingly written by Julian Clary and brilliantly illustrated by David Roberts, this funny and original novel contains a clever plot twist I didn't see coming. It's also a surprisingly touching celebration of the power of kindness, the value of friendship and the importance of being who you really are. Even (or perhaps especially) if who you really are is a hyena. In a dress.

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