Hugo Pepper is going home - not his home, but his parents’ home. He leaves the Ice Forests and the snow giants of the Far North behind and heads out for his parents’ hometown of Harbour Heights. While there, learning about his parents’ past, Hugo grows to care about the people who knew his parents best. But mixed in with the stories he’s told about his parents are stories he hears about the town’s troubles in Firefly Square.
There people can buy rugs made out of cloud-sheep wool and medicinal teas for bad knees and heartburn, or emotional teas for happy-mild and weepy-moderate. Across the street from these south-side stores is The Institute. Previously
led by story collector Wilford McPherson, the Institute is now run by Elliot de Mille
- and he is a mean man. If his staff of furry creatures
makes mistakes, he cancels their foot-cooling privileges for a week.
Elliot is cruel to the citizens of Harbour Heights, too. He is being supplied with all the town’s secrets and gossip and then printing them in the
Firefly Quarterly. The townspeople cringe at just the thought of opening their local magazine now. The only thing that will stop Elliot from printing these secrets are huge monetary donations to the Institute - and some people are not willing to give. Gone are the happy days when Wilford Mcpherson was in charge of the Institute. There are no more good stories in the
Firefly Quarterly now. It’s all been replaced by scathing gossip. The citizens of Harbour Heights are angry and scared and their businesses are at risk of closing.
After staying in Harbour Heights for awhile, Hugo starts to get homesick for his adoptive parents, Harvi and Sarvi Runter-Tun-Tun. He plans to set the snow chariot’s compass to “Far North” and head home in the morning after spending one more night in town. His plans change, though, when he reads a message
that he intercepts in the morning. Hugo’s slice of seedcake set out the night before causes a message-carrying pigeon to veer off course and land at Hugo’s windowsill. The message leads Hugo to a location that not only shows him the way to buried pirate treasure from long ago but to the team responsible for the ruin of Firefly Square. Having much in common with his parents, Hugo helps bring new stories, a new business, and a new attraction to Firefly Square.
Hugo Pepper is the third book in the
"Far-Flung Adventures" series by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Children who have read the other books in the series will notice several references to characters and places from
Fergus Crane and
Corby Flood in this book. However, children don’t have to read these first two books in this series to enjoy Hugo Pepper . Each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone.
From the back of the jacket to the very last pages, Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell make this book entertaining for readers. Known for their series
"The Edge Chronicles," Stewart and Riddell both live in Brighton with their families. Their gift for writing and illustrating can also be seen in series
"Football Mad" and "Barnaby Grimes" and in the picture books
Rabbit’s Wish and What Do You Remember.
A good story makes a good book, and this book has lots of good background stories. The other huge attraction is the illustrations. They are abundant in number, varied in size and placement, and extraordinary in appearance. Cressida Claw has a cat-whiskered face, and Lily and Daisy Neptune have mermaid tails that can pedal bikes. All the illustrations seem to have personality
,and they add quirkiness to the book’s plot and characters.
Good stories accompanied by memorable illustrations make this book a Fantastic-Far-Flung Adventure book!