Review Blog

Feb 19 2019

How to raise your grown-ups by Lauren Child

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Hubert Horatio, Book 1. HarperCollins Children's, 2018. ISBN 9780008264086.
'These stories are about the days when the Bobton-Trents had it cushy, very cushy indeed.' The Bobton-Trent seniors certainly know how to make the most of their extravagant wealth - socialising, doing things, buying things and generally being more than a little bit irresponsible. Luckily for them, their son Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent is an exceptionally intelligent, talented and sensible child. Unluckily for Hubert, this tends to mean that a lot of his spare time is spent steering his rather unruly set of grown-ups out of trouble. So oblivious are they, they don't realise that their lavish lifestyle means that their money has run out even when the Bobton-Trents and their guests sit at a bare dinner table, waiting for an hour and 22 minutes for the maid to serve them, unaware that the staff has left. They are also unaware of their only child's immense talents - he phones his parents at the age of one, reads at two and, when he tumbles into the pool at age three, discovers that he is "a natural swimmer" - and when their financial situation becomes clear to him, he tries ways to raise money through schemes like hosting board game sessions and opening the mansion up for tours, but all his schemes fail because his parents just spend the proceeds. It even becomes his decision to sell the mansion and downsize to an apartment!
Lauren Child brings her unique combination of story-telling, illustration and humour to this new series of books for the newly independent reader. Even though the message about money not necessarily being the happiness-bringer it is reputed to be may be lost on the target audience, nevertheless young readers will delight in the outrageous lifestyle and Hubert's constant vigilance and tactics to keep the family afloat. Those who are a little older might like to think about how income is derived and disbursed and the sorts of decisions that must be made.
With the second episode Alien beings due later this year, this is a series that will become very popular as the word spreads among your students.
Barbara Braxton

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