Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Far-Flung Adventures: Hugo Pepper

Far-Flung Adventures: Hugo Pepper

Paul Stewart , Chris Riddell
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 11
Random House, 2012   ISBN: 978-0385752237

Harvi and Sarvi Runter-Tun-Tun are very happy in every way except that they have no children to brighten their lives. They cannot help being delighted therefore when one day the snow giants in their Frozen North home bring them a little baby boy. They quickly discover that the little baby is the sole survivor of a sled crash. His parents were killed  by polar bears and the baby was rescued by the snow giants just in time.

Harvi and Sarvi raise the baby, Hugo Pepper, with much love but there comes a time, when he is ten and a half, when Hugo finds the sled that once brought his parents to the Frozen North. Hugo cannot help wanting to find out who is parents were, and he sets out for the place that is marked "Home" on the sled's compass.

Thus it is that Hugo finds himself in a place called Harbour Heights. The sled crashes into a tree in Firefly Square and this is actually a good thing because  Hugo quickly meets a group of people, wonderful and interesting people, who knew his parents. Bit by bit Hugo begins to put together the story of his family and he discovers that he comes from a very colorful family indeed. With a pirate for a great-grandmother, a collector of stories for a grandfather, and an explorer for a father, it is no wonder that Hugo, at the age of almost eleven, is willing to brave the unknown.

Then Hugo's new friends in Firefly Square are forced out of their homes and businesses by the decidedly creepy and nasty owner of The Institute. Is there nothing that can be done to stop this man?

Without a doubt this book will absolutely charm young readers who have a fondness for stories with lots of layers, crazy characters, bizarre situations, and perfect endings. Packed with Chris Riddell's wonderful artwork, this captivating story is told in two ways. We read about the events that are currently taking place in Firefly Square, and we also read a series of "Once upon a time" tales about the members of Hugo's family and other characters. The resulting story is quirky, utterly delightful, and captivating.