Ask Hercules Quick
Allen & Unwin, 2019
64pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
One day while out shopping with his Aunt Alligator, Hercules Quick spies a magic box in a shop window, one that he knows he would love to own. And while he is dismayed that he not only doesn’t have any money of his own in his piggy bank, he doesn’t even have a piggy bank, he is not daunted. He gets out his paints and makes a sign offering to do jobs for his neighbours for 10c a task. He explains to Aunt Alligator that 10 cents a day will be a dollar in 10 days and that’s $310 in 10 months – surely enough to buy the magic box.
But quirky neighbours mean quirky jobs and he has to work hard to earn his money. Will he reach his target? And will he still want the magic box if he does?
An intriguing story for young, newly-independent readers who still need support with short chapters and lots of illustrations, this is something very different that can inspire. In a world of instant gratification through clicking on this or that, many don’t understand the anticipation of having to wait for something and the thrill when the goal is achieved. So it’s a spark to help them set a goal, explore how they could reach it, track their progress and celebrate when they accomplish it. A great one, in fact, for Miss 8, who is supposed to be saving for her first Cuboree!!! (Maybe the moneybox I bought her for Christmas will get some use, after all.)
This could have been a rather ordinary story but Dubosarsky’s imaginative spin on the characters takes it on a whole new journey, and Joyner’s illustrations are just the perfect match!