Pearly and Pig and The Great Hairy Beast, by Sue Whiting

I love a good adventure story and Pearly and Pig and The Great Hairy Beast, by the fabulous Sue Whiting, certainly kept me on the edge of my seat! This is the first in a new junior fiction series for Sue, an award-winning children’s and YA author and editor who has worked in publishing for twenty+ years.

Sue was senior commissioning editor and publishing manager for Walker Books Australia for many years, before leaving in 2016 to concentrate on her writing. As a storyteller and schools’ performer, Sue has informed, inspired and entertained thousands of kids across the country. She is also a freelance children’s book editor and writing coach, and the author of numerous books, including the bestselling Missing, the acclaimed The Book of Chance (both highly recommended) and a number of CBCA Notable Books.

When I began my journey as a children’s author in 2018, Sue was the teacher of the children’s writing course I took at the Australian Writer’s Centre, and she has inspired me ever since. I highly recommend all of her books.

Smoky Bacon!

Pearly Woe is a worrier. She worries about anything and everything. Mostly, she worries that her worries will mean she will never become a member of the top-secret group of stealth adventurers – The Adventurologists’ Guild – despite her very special talent of being able to speak animal languages. But with her parents missing, Pig pig-napped, and Pearly a stowaway on an icebreaker heading for Antarctica …Pearly’s worries just got REAL.

Pearly and Pig is a junior fiction book, but as an adult, I was strongly connected to Pearly from the opening chapters and zipped through the pages, wanting to see what was going to happen next. Sue has created very believable characters, (even the talking Pig!) who I connected with instantly, and as a worrier myself, I felt all of Pearly’s emotions, as she tried to solve the problems that are forced upon her.

A perfect blend of realism and magic, there are many layers to this story, which provides a stepping off point for discussing bravery and a range of other emotions and issues with children. One of the most important messages is about overcoming self-doubt and persevering no matter the odds. I loved all of the characters and Sue has painted their personalities and motivations in just the right amount of detail. The pace is perfect and the movement between tension and humour, provides breathing space, as you travel through the story.

A classic tale of finding your courage, despite your fears, dusted with just the right amount of humour and slapstick, you will follow Pearly and Pig as they stumble from one incredible situation to another, on a journey to Antarctica, to try and find Pearly’s parents and unravel the mystery of The Great Hairy Beast. I won’t give away any spoilers, but will say that you and your children will be surprised and delighted by this book. It is perfect for children aged 8 – 12 years, but also a cracking read for all ages, 54 year olds included!

See more about Sue and her books and where to grab your copy of Pearly and Pig here. I can’t wait to see what this dynamic duo do next!


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