Anty Hero by Barry Hutchison

(8.0/10) Ant is the perfect hero in this novel, weird enough to make you cringe, but cute enough to want to get to know him better

Before Ant started at their school, Zac was considered the class weirdo. Ant has a lot of bugs in all shapes and sizes, even having a cockroach living in his hair! Everyone wonders why bugs follow him everywhere in class and one day, some of the kids find out - Ant's glasses fall off, showing he has fly-like eyes underneath. No wonder he kept wearing those glasses!

Unfortunately for him the school bully, Ray, who is also the teacher's son has seen his eyes too and this leads to him trying to bully Ant, but men in white coats beat him to it, taking Ant away while Zac and his new friend Tulisa watch. It seems likely that the men have taken him away for testing, though they fear the worst as they don't see him again. As they are his friends, Zac and Tulisa think that if they let these men experiment on him, it wouldn't be right, so they set about doing something about it. Ant, it seems is a new bug/human crossbreed and Ray thinks he will make him and his dad a lot of money as well as fame from finding him.

Anty Hero is one of over 80 books for children, even some from the hit TV series Ben 10, and a horror series Invisible Friends. It is no surprise why he is such an award-winner with his stories, this one is recommended for an 8+ readership with a handy paperback size, perfect for popping in your school satchel, but there are other plusses, the page colour is easier on the eye and the text is spaced further apart for easier reading.

Ant is the perfect hero in this novel, weird enough to make you cringe, but cute enough to want to get to know him better. Along the way, Zac gets to know not only him, but Brian the butterfly and Duncan the cockroach. And with artwork by Tom Percival, Barry Hutchinson's novel is a story about two kids who come together to be friends for life. It's the old alien and human friendship that touches the heart and leaves lasting memories. I liked that Anty Hero was such a bug friendly book when there are so many kids out there who might not like reading about them. Barry's bugs are helpful, cuddly and don't mean any harm - the spiders and such were acting as valuable characters in key scenes.

Tulisa starts out as the sort of girl who wouldn't befriend either Ant or Zac, but sees beyond the need to be seen as cool and trendy by her peers to become the real friend we all want her to be, which takes a lot of guts on her part. Fans of Barry's other novels will like this for its fun, adventure and school life portrayal.

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