Out for the Count by Anne Fine

Out for the Count

Written by Anne Fine
Illustrated by Vicki Gausden

7+ readers   5+ readers   Little Gems   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Interest Age 5-8 Anne Fine is a very clever writer and this brilliant little story is an exploration of the resources of the human imagination and the iniquities of keeping animals in cages. Hugo is trying to persuade his dad to let him have a gerbil. When Hugo argues that the gerbil would be happy in its cage, his dad challenges him to spend seven hours alone in his newly painted bedroom with just a plate of food and three toys to occupy him. Hugo accepts, entering his room at 12.00pm. By 12.31pm he’s bored of the toys. By 12.44pm he’s eaten the biscuits. By 1.03pm he’s dreaming of escape and by 1.29pm feeling the full weight of captivity he’s arguing with himself. At 2.47pm he makes a break for the garden and freedom. Sharp and very funny, this will get readers thinking. ~ Andrea Reece

About the Little Gems series: Little Gems are in a gorgeous new chunky format, with high-spec production including coloured endpapers and jacketed flaps with activities. Additional features include high quality cream paper, Barrington Stoke font and illustrations on every page. They are perfect for 5-8's. These quality stories promote good reading practice for all newly independent readers.

High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all.


Out for the Count by Anne Fine

A funny and thought-provoking Little Gem from national treasure Anne Fine, with sensitive and charming artwork by up-and-coming illustration star Vicki Gausden.

Hugo wants a gerbil, but his dad says it's cruel to keep an animal in a cage. Hugo doesn't agree, and so Dad challenges him to spend a day cooped up in his room. The countdown has barely begun when Hugo starts to go stir-crazy. Warm, witty and wise to the impatience of childhood, this is Anne Fine on great form, encouraging young readers to develop imagination and empathy.

High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all.

About the Author

Anne Fine

Anne Fine was our Guest Editor in July 2011. Click here to see the books she selected.

Anne Fine was born and educated in the Midlands and now lives in County Durham. She has written numerous highly acclaimed and prize-winning books for children and adults.

Her novel The Tulip Touch won the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year Award; Goggle-Eyes won the Guardian Children's Fiction Award and the Carnegie Medal and was adapted for television by the BBC; Flour Babies won the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year Award; Bill's New Frock won a Smarties Prize, and Madame Doubtfire became the major feature film 'Mrs Doubtfire' starring Robin Williams. Anne was named Children's Laureate in 2002 and made an OBE for services to children's literature in 2003.

Click here to read a Q&A with the author or click here to read an extended biography in which Anne talks about her writing.

Here is a letter from author, Sarah Forbes to Anne Fine, who visited her home town when she was eight and made a lasting impression.

Dear Anne Fine,
You won’t remember this, but in the late 1980s you visited Stonehaven Library as part of an author tour. Stonehaven is a lovely place: a small seaside resort on the east coast of Scotland near Aberdeen. It has an open-air swimming pool and a ruined castle. These days it’s famous for being the home of the deep-fried Mars bar. (Yes, I have eaten a deep-fried Mars bar. No, that isn’t why I’m writing this.)

I remember your visit vividly because I was an avid, avid reader of your books. You coming to town was like having a famous pop star parachute in for the day. The excitement of having an actual, real author come to speak to us! Someone whose books I could reach out and touch on the library shelves in the children’s section upstairs where you did your event.

For a kid living in a big literary city like Edinburgh or London, meeting authors might not be such a big deal. Authors tend to work hard to promote their books and the ones I know do as many events as they can. But let me tell you, rural Aberdeenshire in the 80s was not a hotbed of literary discovery, and you coming to town meant a lot. I think that was the point when I realized writing could be a career. Maybe one day, I could be a writer too.

Many, many years later, I found myself back in the children’s section of Stonehaven Library promoting my own children’s books. That felt incredibly weird and incredibly lovely all at the same time. I’m excited to say I’ll also be talking to kids about my Elspeth Hart books at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this month. I have so much fun doing my own events, but my favourite part is when I ask if anyone likes writing or wants to be a writer and dozens of hands shoot up. The ideas these kids have are amazing. I wonder if it’s easier to dream your way into becoming a writer when you meet grown-ups who’ve done the same thing?

Either way, I relish every minute of getting to meet my readers, and part of the reason I appreciate it, Anne, is you.

Warm wishes,
Sarah Forbes

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Book Info


96 pages


Anne Fine
More books by Anne Fine

Author's Website



Barrington Stoke Ltd

Publication date

15th March 2016




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