Harry the Poisonous Centipede's Big Adventure [NOOK Book]

Overview

Another deliciously squirmy story about Harry the Poisonous Centipede, with all of Lynne Reid Banks’s usual charm and humour. Tony Ross’s wonderful illustrations perfectly capture the small world of Harry.‘Suddenly the most awful thing happened. Something tightened around Harry’s middle! He almost jumped into the air with fright…’When Harry the poisonous centipede’s best friend, George, goes missing, Harry goes to find him. But dangerous things lurk outside his nest-tunnel, like flying swoopers, belly crawlers, ...
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Harry the Poisonous Centipede's Big Adventure

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Overview

Another deliciously squirmy story about Harry the Poisonous Centipede, with all of Lynne Reid Banks’s usual charm and humour. Tony Ross’s wonderful illustrations perfectly capture the small world of Harry.‘Suddenly the most awful thing happened. Something tightened around Harry’s middle! He almost jumped into the air with fright…’When Harry the poisonous centipede’s best friend, George, goes missing, Harry goes to find him. But dangerous things lurk outside his nest-tunnel, like flying swoopers, belly crawlers, furry biters and – most terrifying of all – Hoo-Mins!

Harry, a young centipede, faces danger and frustration when he is captured by a hoo-min and placed in a jar.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This enjoyable sequel once again follows Harry and George, both centipedes and best friends, as they struggle to find their way home after being captured by a Hoo-min (that's centipede for human). After some time passes, the two are able to escape from captivity but they immediately fall into the hands of a swooper (that's centipede for bird) who carries them even farther away from their destination. One adventure follows another, with Harry and George continually having to fight for their freedom from creatures who would keep them imprisoned. In the end, using their wits, their skills as centipedes, and blessed by a little help from their friends, they are successfully able to return home. Readers will learn a great deal about insect life from this book and will enjoy seeing the world from an insect's point of view (though humans come off looking rather dangerous and thoughtless when viewed from this perspective). The author also brings a unique, wry narrative voice to the story. The unnamed narrator talks directly to readers, predicting questions we might have, translating the centipedes' understanding of the world and commenting upon the action. This is an effective device for adding interest to the story and involving us in it more completely. 2001, HarperCollins, $14.95 and $14.89. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Michele Gable
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-A sequel to Harry the Poisonous Centipede (Morrow, 1997). This time Harry's friend George is missing, and within seconds of sticking his head out of his tunnel hole, Harry ends up on a boy's shelf with a lot of other creepy crawlers in "hard-air prisons" (jars). There is, of course, a dramatic escape and he and George make it home after some perilous meetings with some strange and mostly hostile creatures. There are many references to the first story that may frustrate readers unfamiliar with that book. Banks has created various ways of speaking for her creatures, but instead of actually allowing them to do so, readers are constantly told how they would be speaking, since these ways are unintelligible to humans. The convention becomes tedious and too precious over the course of the book. For superior books with a bug's-eye view, try Carol Sonenklar's Bug Boy (1997) or Bug Girl (1998, both Holt), Mary James's "Shoebag" books (Scholastic), or that all-time favorite by Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach (Puffin, 2001).-Carrie Schadle, Beginning with Children School, New York City Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
PLB: 0-06-029394-2 In this second book about Harry the Poisonous Centipede (1998) our intrepid hero and his friend George are captured by a "hoo-man" and are catapulted into a series of adventures precipitated by the need to find their way home. Banks, in the Indian in the Cupboard books, has previously used the traditional device of having an inanimate object or a tiny creature as the focus of a story with great success. But in spite of an unusual hero and a potentially interesting premise, this book is seriously flawed. The condescending, intrusive, irritating voice of the narrator dooms it from the start. Do you want facts about centipedes? The reader is not exactly "really lucky to have me to tell you about them." Again and again poor Harry is left in the dark about key elements in his adventures, but "you can know because I'll tell you." Most of the adventures suffer from poor construction and repetition. Although every episode places the centipedes in mortal danger and they land on their many feet every time, they succeed more often by lucky intervention than by ingenuity. Just in case the reader is unaware of these fortunate coincidences, that pesky narrator is there with asides and reminders, and to state outright that sheer luck is responsible for the heroes' escape. Ross's black-and-white, engaging illustrations provide lively visual clarity, but they cannot save this mess. (Fiction. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780007522309
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/20/2013
  • Sold by: Harper Collins UK
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: ePub edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 536,509
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Lynne Reid Banks is a best-selling author for children and adults. Her classic children’s novel ‘The Indian in the Cupboard’ has sold nearly six million copies worldwide. She was born in London in 1929 and worked as an actress, writer and TV news reporter. Lynne has written thirty books: her first, ‘The L-Shaped Room’, was published in 1960. She now lives in Dorset, where she continues to write. Lynne says that writing for children comes much more easily than writing for adults.


Tony Ross was born in London in 1938. He went to art school in Liverpool and has since worked as a typographer for design and advertising agencies. His cartoons have appeared in Punch, Town, Time and Tide and the News of the World. His first book Hugo and the Wicked Winter was published in 1972. Tony has since written over 100 books and illustrated over 2000! Two of his creations, Towser and The Little Princess have been turned into TV series.
Tony lives in Wales.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Harry was bored.

This is not something that happens often to a poisonous centipede. Harry was generally very busy about something or other. Chasing things like beetles, ants, and worms, biting them with his poison pincers, and eating them; running away from bigger things like snakes and rats trying to eat him; exploring in the tunnels; playing with George, his best friend; or just being at home in his nest-tunnel with his mother, Belinda.

As perhaps you know, Harry was not his real, Centipedish name. This was (are you ready for this?) Hxzltl. And George's was Grnddjl. And Belinda's was Bkvlbbchk. They're hard to say. But then, so is any word, if you leave the vowel sounds out.

Try it with your own name. Bet you can't say it in Centipedish so anyone would recognize it. I mean, say your name is Daniel; in Centipedish (which leaves out the a's, e's, i's, o's and u's) it would be Dnl. If your name's Rebecca, it would be Rbcc. If your name begins with a vowel, say Anna or Ursula or Oscar, it's even worse—I mean, how could you say Nn or Rsl or Scr?

But that's the way centipedes talk to each other—well, I say "talk," but it's more of a crackle. Too faint for human ears to hear. Often they just signal with their feelers. That's why they're rather strange, secretive, mysterious creatures. You're really lucky to have me to tell you about them.Where was I? Oh yes. Harry. Being bored for once.

He'd spent the early part of the night, since he woke up, helping his mother in their nest-tunnel.

He'd straightened out his leaf bed and rubbed his head on the earth floor to polish it.

Then Belinda had brought home astag beetle for their breakfast, and he had helped her get its massive jaws and its hard carapace off and had hauled them out to their rubbish—tip tunnel. Then, while they ate, he asked for a story and his mother told him one about a family of marine centipedes.

"Once upon a time, beside the great no—end puddle, there lived a family of centipedes that could swim."

The stories always began like that. Harry loved them. He thought marine centipedes—his distant cousins—were brll, not to say cl and wckd. But she cut the story short at the most exciting part, because she thought she heard something interesting bumping about on the no-top-world over their heads and scuttled off to investigate it.

That left Harry, tummy full of stag beetle, not feeling like moving much, wanting to know the end of the story—and missing George. Who was missing.

I mean, he'd disappeared. This was not unusual. George was a free spirit. He didn't have a mother (though he borrowed Belinda when he was lonely or hungry). No one to keep tabs on him and stop him doing silly or dangerous things.

So quite often, he went off and had an adventure on his own. Then he was sometimes gone for nights. Harry and George were getting to be big centis now (a centi is a child centipede). A bit like teenagers. So Belinda couldn't keep control the way she used to.

Harry lay on the floor of the nest-tunnel. He stretched himself to his full length, which was now about five inches. All his segments (he had twenty-one, with a pair of legs on each, forty-two legs altogether) felt lazy. And yet in Harry's head was an urge to go somewhere, do something, have an adventure.

Only, what?

He let himself play with the idea of going along the forbidden tunnel and Up the Up-Pipe into the Place of Hoo-Mins. He and George had done that once, when the white-choke (which was smoke) had driven them out of their usual tunnels and they had had to climb into the Hoo-Min's home up his drainpipe and very nearly never came back again.

But no. That was too scary. Harry had a healthy fear of Hoo-Mins. Whenever he heard the vibrations of their great feet thudding overhead in the no-top-world, Harry cowered down or ran to hide (even though no Hoo-Min could see him down in the tunnels). George, when he was there, laughed at him and called him a sissyfeelers, but Harry couldn't help it.

His father had been killed by a Hoo-Min. So you can understand it. Even if Hoo-Mins had not been the biggest, fastest, weirdest, scariest things around.

"Walking about on two legs like that," crackled Harry to himself. "It's not natural. They're not like anything else. They're not like hairy biters or belly crawlers or flying swoopers. They don't belong."

He had the vague idea that maybe they'd come from some other world. Not that he had any idea about planets and things like that. With his little weak eye-clusters he'd never even seen the stars. He just felt certain that Hoo-Mins were not part of the proper order of things.

They were just too much.

After a while, when Belinda didn't come back, Harry gave a centipedish sigh (which he did by making a ripple go all along his back where his breathing holes were) and got to his forty-two feet. He wandered up the nearest tunnel, and when he got to the end, poked his head idly out into the night air of the no-top-world.

If he hadn't been feeling rather dopey and full of food, he might have sensed something wrong and ducked back down again. But he didn't. The darkness was sweet smelling and the noises were all the ones he was used to'the faint sighing of palm fronds rubbing together, the rustle of little night creatures skittering about. Not even a night bird's cry alerted him to danger...

Harry the Poisonous Centipede's Big Adventure. Copyright © by Lynne Reid Banks. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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