Title: Henrie’s Hero Hunt (House of Heroes #2)
Author: Petra James, illustrated by A. Yi
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: 1st of May 2020
Synopsis: A girl. A boy. A great aunt. A mystery! The second book in the exciting House of Heroes series!
Henrie Melchior, the first girl born into the House of Heroes in 200 years, is on a Hero Hunt. When Marely Hart phones on the Hero Hotline, Henrie, Marley and Alex Fischer are in a race against time to find Henrie’s missing parents, a missing gold statue and the answers to questions piling up around her archaeologist great aunt . . . but Violetta Villarne from Villains Incorporated is watching very closely. The answers Henrie needs are buried somewhere in the past, but the present is a whirlwind of secrets and subterfuge. Will Henrie solve the Hunt? Will she find her parents? Or will the House of Melchior shadow her forever?
• The second in a fun and funny middle-grade series, the successor to Deb Abela’s Max Remy series and Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort: Genius Girl Spy.
• Perfect for readers who like their heroes to be smart, fearless and ready for action. Featuring strong male and female characters.
• Accessible high-interest text with illustrations by A. Yi, illustrator of the Alice-Miranda, Clementine Rose and Kensy and Max series.
About the author
Petra James was born in a small town in the South Island of New Zealand, and came to Australia via London. She has written several fiction titles for children such as The Most Ungrateful Girl in the World and the seven books in the Arkie Sparkle series. Like Arkie Sparkle, she wanted to be an archaeologist when she grew up (she had planned to work her way through the career alphabet but didn’t get past “A”), but instead sold chocolate chip cookies and eventually found her way into publishing. When she is not sending fictional characters on adventures, she works in children’s publishing in Sydney. Hapless Hero Henrie and Henrie’s Hero Hunt are her first books with Walker.
About the illustrator
A. Yi is an illustrator and animation artist based in Sydney. She likes doodling and wishes all books were illustrated. She has illustrated various children’s books including the bestselling Alice Miranda series.
Henrie Melchior has just picked up the ringing phone in HoMe – Home of Melchior. Marley Hart wants Henrie to help find the person following her, and so, thus begins Henrie’s first Hero Hunt and mystery. She’s on the trail of Agnes Hart, a deceased relative of Marley’s, accused of a theft. But there is more to Agnes than they all know, and soon, Henrie, Alex and Marley set off to uncover what Agnes had been hiding when she died, whilst trying to evade Violetta Villarne from Villains Incorporate, or VillInc.
Tim Fischer and Ellie are present, yet it is Alex, Henrie and Marley who drive the action, as it is in many kids books these days. It’s an interesting and refreshing trend – for years, kids were orphans, or the adults were uninterested. Yet something has begun to change. The kids can still go on adventures, but adults are always there at the end of the story when the kids have finished for the day. It is a world that feels like it could be in Australia but also feels like it could be taking place somewhere like England – both feel equally appropriate.
As the second in the series, Henrie’s Hero Hunt ties in nicely with Hapless Hero Henrie yet as the protagonist, Henrie, recaps the first book for readers, it is okay to read this one first. However, it is a lot more fun to start at the beginning! Throughout the book, Henrie’s story is peppered with interactive questions and codes for readers to fill in and have fun with as they read, making it an accessible story as kids are able to put themselves in the story with Henrie and her friends – giving kids the adventure they seek – fun with friends, and safety they need with family – with just the right amount of danger.
Henrie’s Hero Hunt is exciting, fun, and filled with revelations throughout the novel that hint at what is to come in the next few books, whilst solving a few mysteries – but where these elements go is a question for the next book, and the rest of the series. Villains Inc and Henrie’s male cousins and uncle have been set up as the antagonists of the series, and the ones who will try to thwart Henrie. But with Marley and Alex by her side, Henrie will find that she can do anything – and the villains don’t stand a chance! They’re still all kids, though. But kids who know how to take hold of the situation before them and do what they can with what they have.
Petra James has cleverly taken hero, villain and spy tropes, and turned words like clairvoyant into names that are puns to create this world. These are fun, and intricately done and work seamlessly with the novel and characters. They add to the fun and humour in a way that will entertain younger readers and teach them about playing with language. Confident and older readers might catch the nuances faster, but half the fun is just enjoying them for what they are and how they work within the story and series. As the second in the series. It follows on perfectly from the first book, and both have alliterative titles, which is lots of fun as well. Books that play with language like this can encourage a lifelong of words and reading and is thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable on all levels.
Another great middle grade book for readers aged nine and older.