The Magnificent Hercules Quick
A & U Children’s, 2021
96pp., pbk., RRP $A4.99
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.
This is the second in this series about Hercules and because he hasn’t yet got enough money for the coveted magic box, he is still doing chores for his quirky neighbours – the very large Elk family who live on the floor above him in the three-storey big red brick house; Professor Calamari, the octopus who lived on the floor below; the turtle brothers Mike and Herbert who live on the roof and the mysterious Queen Claude who lives in the cellar. With such unusual neighbours it is no wonder the chores are also unusual and the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
This is a special Australia Reads publication that is retailing for just $4.99 so it is in reach of most people, perhaps even pocket money for those who take Hercules as their role model. Designed for young, newly-independent readers who still need support with short chapters and lots of illustrations, as well as being a fun read it is also one with a message about saving and savouring the anticipation of waiting. It could also be the lead in to lessons about money providing a real-life focus that has purpose and meaning for the learner.