Reader Reviewed Fizzlebert Stump and the Bearded Boy by A. F. Harrold

Fizzlebert Stump and the Bearded Boy

Written by A. F. Harrold
Part of the Fizzlebert Stump Series

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

March 2013 Book of the Month Fizzlebert Stump’s Circus is back for a second riotous show during which everything can – and does – go terribly wrong. The new act features the very, very hairy Barboozul family which includes Wystan, the bearded son. Fizzlebert - his mum is a clown and dad is a strongman - is used to oddities but he has never come across a bearded boy. Will the two become friends? Many strange things happen at the Circus before anything as obvious as that happens in a delightfully chaotic and imaginative romp.

This is Fizzlebert Stump’s second adventure - which began with Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library)

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Alexander Butler, age 9 - 'An excellent story of a new act that is brought into the circus and all is great.  But then things start to go wrong...  A really funny read.' Read full review >
  • Freya Hudson,  age 10 -  'I have read both the Fizzlebert books.  If you like funny, exciting and entertaining books, read about Fizzlebert Stump. The author keeps the reader gripped by the way he ends each chapter, making you want to read on to find out what happens next. Even my mum enjoyed this book and I had to keep telling her what was happening!' Read full review >
  • Adam Graham, age 9  - 'This book has one bad feature and that is just simply that it ends! Also it is so amazing because of the hilarious sketches and humorous narration.'  Read full review >
  • Lennon Kerrigan-Gee, age 10  - 'This fantastic book will blow your mind with their mysterious people and amazing tricks.' Read full review >
  • Callum Kerrigan-Gee, age 10  - 'Fizzlebert’s adventure is dramatic, amazing, exciting and quite funny.'   Read full review >
  • Lucy Minton, age 9 - 'I liked this book because it described everything very well and I could paint a picture in my head of the events and people being described.' Read full review >


Fizzlebert Stump and the Bearded Boy by A. F. Harrold

Fizzlebert Stump's second adventure. The bearded Barboozul family are the new stars of Fizz's circus. Their act is full of magic, mystery, fear and fun. And it's nice to have another boy around, even if he is a bit...hairy round the chin. But then things start going wrong. The lion loses his dentures. The clowns lose their noses. The Ringmaster loses his temper. And the circus is about to lose its licence. Is the bearded boy to blame? Can Fizz save the day?

Perfect for fans of Mr Gum and books by Jeremy Strong. Fizzlebert is back with the circus from which he tried to run away in the first book – With terrific humour and non-stop adventure and misadventure readers can’t fail to be hooked.

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


272 pages
Interest Age: from 7 to 9


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

Author's Website


Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Publication date

14th March 2013




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