Greta Zargo and the Death Robots from Outer Space by A. F. Harrold
  

Greta Zargo and the Death Robots from Outer Space

Written by A. F. Harrold
Illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton

7+ readers   Books of the Month   

The Lovereading4Kids comment

September 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: zany, comic adventure with added alien invasion

Greta Zargo is an unusual 11-year-old. An orphan she’s lived on her own since the age of 8 thanks to an unfortunate but legally-binding error on her parents’ otherwise carefully thought-out will. A junior reporter on the local paper, Greta is determined her summer scoop will be solving the mystery surrounding a series of cake thefts. Meanwhile, in outer space a huge space-going robot is heading towards Earth to take over our planet. The two stories zing along in parallel before coming together beautifully at the book’s climax, and thanks to another typo on a key document. The comical characters and situations will thoroughly entertain young readers while the author’s delight in words ad language adds another dimension.

Readers who enjoy Greta’s adventure should look out for books by Andy Stanton and Philip Ardagh, who employ similarly knowing narrative voices, and will also enjoy Norton Juster’s classic The Phantom Tollbooth. ~ Andrea Reece

Synopsis

Greta Zargo and the Death Robots from Outer Space by A. F. Harrold

Nobody knew it at that moment, but only three things stood in the way of the complete destruction of the Earth: one elderly parrot; one eight-year-old spelling mistake; and an intrepid young schoolgirl-turned-reporter in search of a story ... Greta Zargo needs a big scoop if she's going to win the Prilchard-Spritzer Medal, the quite famous award for great reporting. But big scoops are in short supply in the quiet little town of Upper Lowerbridge, and all Greta's got to investigate is a couple of missing cakes. But then, with a whoosh of unknown energy, a mysterious silver robot descends from the sky ...

A laugh-out-loud funny new series from the author of the critically acclaimed The Imaginary, perfect for fans of Mr Gum, Chris Riddell, and Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre's Oliver and the Seawigs.

Reviews

Praise for A.F. Harrold;

Full of comical characters and disastrous situations, it will keep children entertained from beginning to end. Booktrust on Fizzlebert Stump

AF Harrold writes with a very distinctive, unusual and utterly charming voice in this warm and funny tale. ... Fabulous. -- Jeremy Strong The Guardian

About the Author

A. F. Harrold

A.F. Harrold is an English poet (1975-present). He writes and performs for adults and children, in cabaret and in schools, in bars and in basements, in fields and indoors. He was Glastonbury Festival Website's Poet-In-Residence in 2008, and Poet-In-Residence at Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2010. He won the Cheltenham All Stars Slam Championship in 2007 and has had his work on BBC Radio 4, Radio 3 and BBC7. He is active in schools work, running workshops and slams and doing performances at ungodly hours of the morning, and has published several collections of poetry. He is the owner of many books, a handful of hats, a few good ideas and one beard. He spends his time showing off on stage, writing poems and books, and stroking his beard (it helps churn the ideas). He is the author of the Fizzlebert Stump series and the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal longlisted The Imaginary, illustrated by Emily Gravett. The Imaginary is the winner of the 7-11 category of the UKLA Awards. A.F Harrold lives in Reading with a stand-up comedian and two cats.

A Q&A with the author

1. What are your 5 favourite books, and why?

Again, no favourites, per se, but at various times in my life the following five have been important to me: Barbara Firth (the greatest illustrator of bears in children’s books full stop, no argument); J.R.R. Tolkien (for, almost accidentally, allowing us a glimpse into his lifelong private world-building exercise); Norman MacCaig (one of the great poets of nature and time and thought – never fussy and complex, but always sharp, charming and short); Iris Murdoch (for her ungainly, unlikely, unworldly novels of love and philosophy; Jill Bennett (I have a print of her drawing of the BFG (from Danny Champion of the World) on the wall by my desk, which is so many times more mysterious and fascinating than Blake’s BFG that became the standard).

Let’s plump for The Hobbit. It was a book that certainly hooked my imagination and tangled me up in its world. I went to sleep listening to the tapes of it.

How about the boy in The Witches simply for what he does and what he goes through and how he ends up. There’s pluck for you.

I have a soft spot for both Mr Gum and Mr Twit. Every villain needs a good beard, surely?

I’d like to think I could be Professor Calculus, but I’d probably discover I was Thompson or Thomson.

7. If you could recommend just one book for everyone to read what would it be?

My inability to think of anything else to do. To make poems was the only thing that felt right. Every now and then one of them isn’t terrible. And now stories seem to happen as well.

The Imaginary came about because of two thoughts that occurred around the same time. One was the image of an imaginary boy stood by the side of the road after an accident. He was on his own for the first time. He was beginning to fade. The other was a thought of a canteen, a greasy spoon sort of place, full of big blokes with ‘I love Mum’ tattoos and mugs of builder’s tea and cigarettes on the go. A foreman type walks in with a clipboard and says, ‘Little Billy Jones needs a friend …’ and one of the hairy Neanderthal-ish chaps gets up and says, ‘Okay boss,’ and goes out the door, squeezing himself into whatever shape Billy Jones wants his imaginary friend to be. So, an agency for imaginary friends. Neither of the those images/pictures/thoughts makes it unchanged into the book, but they were the initial spurs.

I began writing poetry seriously (and awfully) as a teenager, but I’d had a typewriter as a kid and banged away on it, though I’ve no idea and no memory of what I was writing.

Just keep on with it. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. And read lots.

Photo credit: Naomi Woddis

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Book Info

Format

Paperback
256 pages

Author

A. F. Harrold
More books by A. F. Harrold

Author's Website

www.afharrold.co.uk/

Publisher

Bloomsbury Childrens an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Publication date

7th September 2017

ISBN

9781408869475

Categories


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