By Julian Clary
About the author: Julian Clary is a comedian, entertainer and novelist, who has toured across the world with his one-man shows. He became a household name in the late 1980s, and remains one of the country’s most popular (and least predictable) entertainers. Julian has appeared on numerous popular TV shows including Celebrity Big Brother (which he won), Strictly Come Dancing, This Morning, QI, Have I Got News For You and is a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute. He has starred in West End productions of Taboo and Cabaret, and appears in panto most years – he loves wearing silly clothes and lots of make up! Julian also narrates the Little Princess children’s television series. He lives in Kent with his husband, dogs and several chickens.
About the illustrator: David Roberts is an award-winning illustrator who has earned great acclaim for his distinctive style. He was born in Liverpool and studied fashion design at university in Manchester. After graduating, he worked as a milliner and a fashion illustrator, but always felt his true calling was in children’s books. David finally realised his dream when his first book was published in 1998, and since then he has collaborated with some of Britain’s finest children’s authors, including Julia Donaldson, Sally Gardner, Philip Ardagh and Jacqueline Wilson. He is also the creator of the popular Dirty Bertie books. He lives in London with his husband. His book Little Red was shortlisted for the 2005 Kate Greenaway Medal. In 2006 he won the Nestle Children’s Book Prize Gold Award for his line drawings in Mouse Noses on Toast.
Synopsis: It’s the summer holidays, and the hairiest family in Teddington decide to take a well-earned holiday by the seaside. With their extended hyena family in tow, they head on down to Cornwall for a spot of camping. But it’s never long before trouble sniffs these hyenas out, and Bobby is mistaken for a pup and snatched by a wicked dognapper. The Bolds will need all their ingenuity to hunt her down and rescue all the pilfered pooches. But can these hyenas-in-disguise save the day, without letting the cat out of the bag?
The story is about a family of hyenas trying desperately hard to conceal their canine features to blend in with the humans and (as most families are) this family is disfunctional to say the least. There is a lot of things happening in this book and moves at a fast pace. From a mad-cap sports day, to a wounded leg, to dogs, to holidays, to dognappers, to reading about new friends. The family really are harmless but I wouldn’t want to leave next door to them as an adult BUT as a kid I’d love it what with all the excitement that always follows them around!
I suppose if you wanted to delve a little deeper into what I think Julian was trying to convey in this story, that it doesn’t matter where people come from, what they look (be it hairy or otherwise!) or what their religious beliefs are, it’s the person that you should get to know. That’s just mean overthinking it when I look at Syrian refugees coming to a foreign land to live. Smile and be friendly, guys.
It’s a fun little book for both boys and girls aged between 9 to 12 years. The Christmas cracker jokes are corny but then again have you ever read one that wasn’t? It’s filled with funny moments that will have your inner child in stitches. I tried hard not to “laugh out loud” but I did find myself sniggering. Well worth buying for the little person in your life.