cover image Harry the Poisonous Centipede

Harry the Poisonous Centipede

Lynne Reid Banks. HarperCollins Publishers, $15.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14711-2

Despite his mother's warnings to stay close to their home deep inside the earth, Harry the centipede is anxious to visit the ""no-top-world,"" where centipedes are ""not the biggest thing around, by any means--or even the fastest!"" His mother's scary stories about ""flying swoopers,"" ""furry biters,"" and the dreaded ""Hoo-mins"" are not enough to dissuade the curious centipede from joining his mischievous friend, George, on forbidden excursions upward. The two have some close calls with monstrous creatures, but manage to outwit their enemies before embarking on their most dangerous journey of all: climbing up the very drain pipe that led Harry's unfortunate father to his untimely death. Banks (The Indian in the Cupboard), presents a slight, episodic picture of Harry's home life and many perils on the earth surface. The plot has the simplicity of a chapter book, but the structure seems geared to older readers. The ideal audience is hard to imagine. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-up. (Aug.)