As I put down Harsu & the Werestoat after finishing the final pages I wondered what magical reading journey had I just been on? And which student will be lucky enough to get to read it first!
Barbara Else weaves a magical tale, with rich imagery that spans time and settings, ancient Sumeria, a Viking village, Cromwell’s England and modern New Zealand. Eleven-year-old Harsu is in the unenviable position of having a mother who transforms into a Werestoat, intent on stealing children to prove that she is the perfect mother. Harsu proves himself to be wise beyond his years navigating the ‘tricky’ relationship with his mother who shows him little kindness and offering guidance to the ‘stolen’ children.
Harsu & the Werestoat is a modern-day fairytale, there is good and evil mixed in with a good deal of humour that will delight readers, especially as the time travelers are greeted to modern technology, electricity and mobile phones!
The cover design by Keely O’Shannessy adds to the magic of the story, small glints of gold and dramatic contrast between dusk blue sky and dark silhouetted figures, makes it a book that will ‘pop’ on Library shelves and be picked up time after time.
Harsu & the Werestoat is the type of book Librarians and Parents of children who are reading above their years are looking for. It is rich and complex, yet at the same time the themes and their delivery are perfectly aimed at confident readers of 10 + years.
Title: Harsu and the Werestoat
Author: Barbara Else
Publisher: Gecko Press
Date of publication: April 2019
Reviewer's name: Louana McCormack, Librarian
Reviewer's School Name: Opaheke School
How highly are you recommending this book? Highly Recommended.
What’s the book’s opening sentence? Except for five godlet-drops that ran in his blood, Harsu was human.
You can buy this book here