The Adventures of Harry Stevenson by Ali Pye
I've long thought that there aren't enough novels about guinea pigs. These noble, intelligent and loyal creatures deserve their moment in the sun. Fortunately Ali Pye has at last documented the thrilling adventures of Harry Stevenson, a guinea pig who prefers a quiet life but who is destined for greatness and renown. In the first story Harry is left behind when his beloved owner Billy moves house. Despite his fear of the Outside, Harry must embark on an epic journey via bicycle, reluctant dog and pizza delivery van, until at last he finds his family again. It's The Incredible Journey, but undertaken by a guinea pig. In the second story, Harry thinks he's having a lovely snooze in the sun, but wakes to find he has inadvertently embarked on a perilous balloon ride. Despite terrible danger he triumphs, and in doing so helps Billy to make new friends and win eternal sporting glory for his favourite football team, Sparky FC. This furry, risk-averse, football-loving fan of leafy greens is a timeless hero for young readers. We can all relate to Harry's tendency to catastrophise and to make poor decisions when peckish. Ali Pye has invested Harry with irresistible charm, and her illustrations are a delight. Emerging readers will love this, and it would also be great to read aloud. As Harry himself would say: 'Wheeeek!'