257. Harry the Poisonous Centipede by Lynne Reid Banks

Harry the Poisonous Centipede by Lynne Reid Banks. Illustrated by Tony Ross (Canada) - (US)
First Modern Classics
Harry the Poisonous Centipede trilogy

Pages: 176
Ages: 7+
Finished: Nov. 18, 2010
First Published: 1996 (FMC Jul. 30, 2010)
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Genre: children, animal fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:
Harry was a poisonous centipede.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: Specifically I am collecting this publisher's list under the title of "First Modern Classics" aimed at younger readers originating from the UK house. The titles on this list, which started in 2009, all by British authors, are a unique selection for North American readers, though a few international classics are included. Lynne Reid Banks is mostly known in NA for her Indian in the Cupboard series. I had heard of this book but never actually seen it.

Harry, his best friend George and his mother Belinda have got to be the only bugs in this world that I would ever call adorable. Banks manages to tell a tale of these centipedes in all their creepy crawly-ness, while at the same time creating characters the reader sympathizes with and roots for. There is one certain scene when I was utterly creeped out at the thought of these slithery insects from a "Hoo-Min" point of view while I was captured in the intense moment for Harry and George and whether they would escape with their lives.

An adorable story with lots of mini-adventures that lead up to a forewarned major climax. Banks tells this cute tale of centipede life keeping it light and fun for the youngest of listeners but also is able to impart a lot of genuine information about centipedes wholly within her storyline
and never crossing the line into giving a lesson. I really enjoyed the story finding the it exciting for the intended audience, fun and the characters lovable. Which is quite a feat since centipedes give me the willies just looking at pictures of them! Tony Ross' illustrations are plentiful and equally darling to match the text, making Harry an unforgettable character in children's literature.

Finally, an aspect of the "First Modern Classics" series I really like is first at the beginning there is a short paragraph by a famous author called "Why You'll Love this Book" which Ian Whybrow provides in this instance. Then at the back there is "More Than a Story" section with its own Table of Contents. This one includes 10 facts about centipedes, riddles, puzzles, a recipe, a craft and a "Are You Scared of Creepy Crawlies?" quiz.


  1. This sounds like a cute childrens book. Thanks for blogging about it.

  2. It sounds like a wonderful book for my youngest to read! My oldest just finished http://www.homeschoolliterature.com/books-by-grade/grades-3-5/stephanie-s-tolan and he really liked it as well! I am looking forward to reading more of your reviews;)

  3. This is one of my favorite books I have read to my kids in the past few years.


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