Poetry Box book review: Barbara Else’s Harsu & the Werestoat

Poetry Box April poem challenge





Barbara Else, Harsu & the Werestoat, Gecko Press, 2019


Barbara Else wrote the magnificent Tales of Fontania adventure series so I was very excited to read her new children’s novel out with Gecko Press. It is completely fabulous and I was gripped from the first page to the last.

Gripped is such a good word to use for a book you love. I gripped hold of the book on the couch and couldn’t put it down until I finished! The characters gripped me, the setting gripped me, and the way the story unfolded gripped me – I just HAD to find out what happens. Harsu’s world gripped me and it stayed in my mind as I cooked dinner (chopped onions just like Harsu had to – well not quite so many!) and watched the sun go down.


What an imagination at work!

What honeyed language at work!


Harsu is human but he has five godlet drops of blood. He wants to grow up to escape his mean mother Daama (who is a daughter along with nine thousand or so other children of the Wind God). His father was a human – a warrior and a doctor – but he has gone (mysteriously!). He left his son a cloak fringed with gold coins, a clay tablet and an old war horse. BUT this is not a happy family: Harsu’s face was scarred by illness so his mother kidnaps children in her hunt for the perfect child.

Barbara has also invented the mysterious Gate of Time and Place which sends travellers to elsewhere. I love portals in novels that tip the story over so you are not sure what is going to happen next or where you will end up.

By the end of the novel – when my heart was racing like a high-speed locomotive – I desperately wanted things to turn out well for Harsu. I had really become attached to his patience, his courage, his curiosity, his cunning, his smartness and his EMPATHY! Empathy is like kindness and he has many droplets of kindness bubbling away in his bloodstream.

I also love the way the kidnapped children are all so different and have such feisty personalities. I itched to find out what happened to them too!

Ah dear young (and not so young) readers this is such a gripping, marvellous book I can’t wait for you to discover its magical highways, its fascinations and its gripping secrets. I do hope this is the first of a series!  Highly recommended.


Author page at Gecko Press











Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s