Title: Pearly and Pig and the Great Hairy Beast
Author: Sue Whiting
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: 2nd March 2022
Synopsis: A fast-paced junior fiction adventure starring a plucky new heroine that has to face her fears to save her parents, her friend and the day!
Pearly Woe is a worrier. She worries about everything, especially that she’ll never be brave enough to become a member of the top-secret group of stealth adventurers – The Adventurologists’ Guild. Pearly also has a special talent – she can talk to animals. Her favourite animal to talk to is her pet pig, called Pig. But with her parents missing, Pig pig-napped and Pearly a stowaway on an icebreaker heading for Antarctica, Pearly’s worries just got REAL.
- Sue Whiting is a prolific and award-winning children’s book writer, former teacher, and publishing manager.
- First in a new series starring Pearly Woe and Pig. The second book will be releasing in 2023.
- Pearly’s constant (and relatable) worrying is a great opening to talk about mental wellbeing in a way that resonates with kids.
Pearly and Pig have spent their lives travelling the world with Pearly’s parents who are great adventurers. Yet Pearly is not brave like her parents. She worries, and she is especially worried that she will never be brave enough to join the Adventurologists’ Guild. One day, her parents go missing during their quest to find the Great Hairy Beast. Pearly must use her special language skills when she stows away, headed for Antarctica, to save her parents and prove how brave she is.
Pearly’s worries and anxiety propel her story forwards, as she faces her fears so she can save her parents and get away from the evil Ms Woods and her friends – though there may be more to some of them than meets the eye. Pearly’s journey is fun and confronting but provides a safe space to discuss adventures and worries, fears and anxiety as Pearly travels the world. The smattering of other languages is good to introduce readers to other languages and learning new words and phrases, and the diversity of the world and the role languages play in our world and in Pearly’s world. This is a fun, and vibrant book that allows us to travel from our homes when we can’t go out ourselves, and I’m finding that there are many books coming out that do this lately.
It is as thought we are vicariously travelling through our reading and writing these days, much like most people would have always done when they can’t travel for whatever reason. It’s a fun way to travel, because for twenty or thirty dollars, we get to go anywhere in the world, anywhere in time, and across space and fantasy worlds as well. I particularly liked that this story also did not face the pandemic – it is comforting to read stories that do not engage with it, as we have already lived through it and are still living through it. Sometimes we need to read about it, and sometimes we don’t need it in the media that we consume.
The first in an exciting new series, this is perfect for middle grade readers to engage with worries and anxiety, and deal with emotions they don’t know how to deal with or need to talk about with someone. It’s a fun story as well, and one that readers of all ages will engage with. Thanks Sue for such a fabulous story.