Philip Reeve is full of admiration for Hilary McKay
I only seem to be get a story moving if I can leave real life behind and invent strange new worlds of my own. So I’m full of admiration for Hilary McKay, who can spin good, funny stories out of the stuff of everyday reality. Dog Friday is one of her best.
Robin lives with his mother in ‘Porridge Hall’, a failing bed and breakfast house on the Yorkshire coast. The family next door – twins Ant and Perry, little sister Bean and their odd little brother Sundance – help him to overcome his fear of dogs, and later, when he finds a lost dog on the beach, he is determined to adopt it. The clever, simple plot grows quite tense as we wonder whether or not Robin will be able to keep his dog. But what I love most are the eccentric characters and the offbeat, innocent, unexpected humour. There’s a lovely sense of sun and seaside too, as the children explore wild cliffs and empty beaches. Dog Friday has a sequel, Amber Cat, and while I was writing this piece I discovered that – Yay! – there’s a third book, Dolphin Luck. I’m looking forward to reading more about Porridge Hall and its inhabitants.
Philip Reeve’s latest book Oliver and the Seawigs (978-0192734556) is illustrated by Sarah McIntyre and published by Oxford Children’s Books at £8.99.