Title: The Magnificent Hercules Quick
Author: Ursula Dubosarsky
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Published: 31st August 2021
Synopsis: An Australia Reads exclusive story about a boy who does a series of odd jobs for his eccentric neighbours, from the current Australian Children’s Laureate and the bestselling creators of The Terrible Plop.
Ursula Dubosarsky is the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2020 – 2021
Hercules Quick dreams of being a magnificent magician. He is saving up to buy a box of magic tricks. Luckily, he has plenty of neighbours who need his help. Whether it’s lending a hand to Professor Calamari or doing an out of season spring-clean for Queen Claude, no job is too odd for Hercules.
Need something done? Ask Hercules Quick. Only ten cents!
A hilarious story about an ordinary boy who does a series of odd jobs for his eccentric neighbours, from the bestselling creators of The Terrible Plop. An Australia Reads exclusive story.
This year, Australia Reads Australian Reading Hour is on the fourteenth of September, in two weeks. Everyone is encouraged to take one hour out of the day at any time to read a book. This year there are events in bookstores, libraries and online, and readers are encouraged to take part or host their own Reading Hour, or use the hashtag #AustraliaReadsAtHome on social media to share what they are doing.
Each year, four authors pen a short novella for the program to promote reading, and this year one of them is by the current Australian Children’s Laureate, Ursula Dubosarsky. She’s written a delightfully cute and funny story called The Magnificent Hercules Quick, about a young boy who desperately wants a magic tricks kit, but he needs to save up! So he starts doing odd jobs for the bubbly and vibrant array of people living in the same building, and in between, he watches as his tadpole, Sylvie, starts to become a frog. This lovely little story doesn’t take long to read, and is filled with fun, whimsy and a sense of what is really important and magical whilst showing children how to be brave and the power of helping people.
I first read this book under a different title in my capacity as a quiz writer a couple of years ago, and now am reading it as a reader and reviewer, which is a different experience, as I must remind myself not to think of quiz questions, but at times, I do this when reading for pleasure or review. It can be fun to imagine what questions I would ask.
These small, unique books for Australia reads are designed to promote literacy and the act of reading. They will hopefully spark a love of reading for some and continue that spark and love of reading for others. It is one of those books that is also timeless, so can reach across ages and generations, and isn’t heled back by things that set it in stone in terms of the setting – books like this are powerful and allow us to escape the world and our current lockdown situation due to the current COVID outbreaks across the east of Australia, at least on the mainland. At the time of writing, this means half the country is in lockdown, though by the time this is published, things might be slightly different. So we all need comforting books like this at the moment, and I think Ursula Dubosarsky has done really well and I loved this book.
Short, illustrated books like this are fun for all readers, as it can help build literacy and reading confidence, provide a nice break from longer books or be an enjoyable read for the whole family to enjoy, and can easily be read in one sitting or a chapter at a time, depending on your mood and reading style. It is a fun and whimsical story that will delight readers of all ages.