DiscoverMiddle Grade

My Dad, the Earth Warrior

By Gary HAQ

Loved it! 😍

A sports-loving boy and his bookworm dad must overcome their differences to fight an evil energy tycoon in this eco-conscious debut.

Synopsis

Hero is an ordinary boy who wants nothing more than to have a normal dad.
But Dad is only interested in reading his books and filling his head with useless facts.
Then one day Dad has a freak accident and wakes up claiming to be an Earth Warrior sent to protect the land from a ruthless energy tycoon. Hero is forced to go along with Dad’s new personality.

But when Gran mysteriously disappears, Hero and Dad embark on a dangerous adventure.
Can Hero save Gran and get his old dad back before it's too late?

My Dad, the Earth Warrior is a heart-warming tale of a boy and his dad who reconnect their distant relationship and set out together on a mission to save Mother Earth.

It is a story of personal growth, environment and discovering the warrior spirit that lies in all of us - written with humour sure to make children laugh out loud.

** SHORTLISTED FOR THE TIMES/CHICKEN HOUSE CHILDREN'S FICTION COMPETITION 2019 **

**2018 GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF WISHING SHELF INDEPENDENT BOOK AWARDS JUDGED BY KIDS FROM 8 UK SCHOOLS**

**UK SCHOOL ZONE'S 'BOOK OF THE MONTH' JULY 2018**

Ever since his mum died two years ago, Hero Trough has clung to the idea of attending the World Cup. The thought of seeing his hometown’s star striker play in the football championship has been “a flicker of colour in his grey life” [14], but the game is only weeks away and Dad still hasn’t purchased tickets. When an accident causes Dad to suffer a calamitous concussion, he transforms from a book-obsessed reciter of encyclopedic facts to a loincloth-wearing Earth Warrior determined to save the neighborhood recreation area from a ruthless energy company called Tyranox. Dad’s actions draw the attention of local news outlets and the wrath of Mr. Barnabus Vump, president of Tyranox. Hero’s only hope of saving what’s left of his family lies in recalling facts quoted by his father, facts he thought were too embarrassing to warrant remembrance.    


Tackling death, grief, and global warming in one book may sound like a recipe for doom and gloom, but HAQ skillfully infuses every chapter with humor. Dad’s antics are a hoot, and more laughs are gleaned from Hero’s beloved Gran – a world travelling, motorcycle riding activist who delivers one humorous anecdote after another. Though Hero’s relationship with Gran is one of the highlights of the book, his perception of his two best friends is somewhat troubling. Hero has little appreciation for his “techno-geek” friend Mitzy, describing her as “bossy” and “annoyingly unhelpful.” And he has no sympathy for his friend Partha, who laments his dad’s proclivity to fart after eating dhal curry, because “having a dad who stinks is nothing compared to one who’s always got a book in front of his face” [23]. But it’s Hero’s ability to adapt and to see others in a new light that makes him a redeeming character.  


Cartoon lettering throughout enhances the playfulness of this quirky tale, and supplemental material on fracking and climate change at the back of the book make this an optimal choice for readers who enjoy learning in a lighthearted environment.  


Silly and fun, topical and timely, My Dad, the Earth Warrior is an approachable examination of climate change, interconnectedness, and the need for green energy conveyed through a heartening story of a boy and his dad working to understand and appreciate their differences.

Reviewed by

Once there was a girl with unkempt hair and knobby knees who spent her summers sipping honeysuckle blooms and staining her mouth with blackberries plucked from the vine. One day, she opened a book and tumbled into a realm of stories from whence she never returned.

Synopsis

Hero is an ordinary boy who wants nothing more than to have a normal dad.
But Dad is only interested in reading his books and filling his head with useless facts.
Then one day Dad has a freak accident and wakes up claiming to be an Earth Warrior sent to protect the land from a ruthless energy tycoon. Hero is forced to go along with Dad’s new personality.

But when Gran mysteriously disappears, Hero and Dad embark on a dangerous adventure.
Can Hero save Gran and get his old dad back before it's too late?

My Dad, the Earth Warrior is a heart-warming tale of a boy and his dad who reconnect their distant relationship and set out together on a mission to save Mother Earth.

It is a story of personal growth, environment and discovering the warrior spirit that lies in all of us - written with humour sure to make children laugh out loud.

** SHORTLISTED FOR THE TIMES/CHICKEN HOUSE CHILDREN'S FICTION COMPETITION 2019 **

**2018 GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF WISHING SHELF INDEPENDENT BOOK AWARDS JUDGED BY KIDS FROM 8 UK SCHOOLS**

**UK SCHOOL ZONE'S 'BOOK OF THE MONTH' JULY 2018**

Heatwave Blistering Bertha



‘But, Daaaaad are you sure she’s going to be there?’ said Hero. It was a sweltering day in July, and they were once again at Leaford International Airport.

‘I told you she’s arriving this afternoon,’  Dad said firmly. He stood at the entrance dressed for the heatwave in his black vest, khaki shorts and Union flag flip-flops – his matchstick legs proudly on display.

‘Okay.’  Hero  nodded,  unconvinced  that  hanging around a stuffy airport listening to Dad witter on about some random fact was the best start to the summer holidays.

He followed Dad into the terminal building. Inside, several old fans creaked away, working hard to make up for the broken air conditioning but failing miserably to keep the place cool.

 Hero cringed at the sight of people shading their eyes and putting on sunglasses as Dad strode ahead, his skinny body a beacon of whiteness in the mass of crimson-faced travellers.

‘But did you find out why she’s coming back now?’ he asked, trying to keep pace.

Dad sighed. ‘I still don’t know. Her one-line text messages are more cryptic than The Times crossword.’ They passed a row of shops before Hero stopped outside the Flying Bean Café. He took off his blue Leaford City baseball cap and wiped the sweat from his forehead.

The soft murmur of Globe News could be heard above the chatter of iced coffee drinkers. Hero glanced at the TV on the wall as Heatwave BLISTERING BERTHA Threatens World Cup flashed across the screen.

 Hero stared at the headline with his mouth gaping open. It was one thing giving a name to a heatwave and treating it like a celebrity, but to  cancel  the most famous football championship – that was going too far.

One of Dad’s more interesting encyclopaedic facts was that the World Cup didn’t take place in 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War. Surely the heatwave wasn’t as serious as a war? Even if it was bad enough to be called Bertha.

‘Come on, let’s keep moving,’ Dad said, marching off.

In the arrival hall, a scrum of people stood behind a grey metal barrier. Hero leaned forward to see what the commotion was all about.

The crowd parted to show a man and woman from St John Ambulance assisting a plump, red-faced lady who had collapsed into a heap on the floor.

‘Heatstroke!’ said Dad. ‘It plays havoc with the homeostatic state of the human body.’

Hero frowned. ‘What are they doing?’

‘Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what to do in an emergency?’ said Dad, raising an eyebrow.

Dad had lectured Hero for months on how to save a life, until he gave in and agreed to learn basic first aid. Hero had endured Dad’s endless testing on what to do with a broken bone, a bleeding cut or a maggot-infested wound.

‘No, of course not,’ said Hero, with a sheepish smile.

It wasn’t long before travellers from the seven continents flowed through the sliding doors.

Dad stood gazing into the distance with a two-line frown carved on his brow.

After a while, he scratched his greying hair and said, ‘Don’t you think this place is a verifiable melting pot of colour, culture and couture?’

Hero rolled his eyes. ‘Oh no, please not again,’ he muttered.

‘Did you know there are forty-three thousand airports in the world?’ said Dad.

Hero braced himself.

‘The United States has the largest number, with over fourteen thousand,’ Dad continued, ‘although that’s no surprise given the size of the country.’

All the signs were there: the reflective frown, the stare into space and the scratch of the head.

‘If we have any chance of stopping  global warming and heatwaves like this one, we definitely need to reduce flying,’ said Dad.

There was no doubt about it: Dad had entered DOWNLOAD KNOWLEDGE MODE.

Hero would have given anything at that moment to close his ears and block out Dad’s endless babble. But, according to Dad, the only members of the animal kingdom blessed with an ear-closing ability were hippos, polar bears and beavers. And the last time he looked in the mirror, he certainly wasn’t one of them.

Faced with this undeniable  truth,  Hero  focused his attention on the new batch of jet-setters, which included a young Chinese couple, a group of Italian schoolkids, a sullen businessman and two women in saris.

The stream of passengers eventually came to an end.

Hero and Dad were now the only people left in the hall except for a few glum-looking travellers who had lost their luggage. Hero stared at the sliding doors, which were unwilling to release new arrivals anytime soon.

‘She’s not coming,’ he said, dropping his shoulders in disappointment.

Hero longed for her to return. He couldn’t bear to be alone with his factual father a minute longer. But the million-dollar question was when?

‘She may be delayed at customs again,’ said Dad, rubbing his stubbled chin in thought. ‘I hope she hasn’t brought anything illegal into the country. You remember that Aztec dagger? She didn’t let them take that without a fight.’

‘But it’s the third time this week she hasn’t turned up,’ said Hero. ‘Can we go now?’

Suddenly, the doors slid open to show a grey-haired, slim, sun-kissed lady. She wore a yellow, maroon and white patterned kaftan and a chunky red-beaded necklace. A couple of men in uniform accompanied her. The younger of the two pushed a trolley piled up with a battered suitcase and an unusual wrapped object covered in brown crumpled paper and dirty string.

The older man stood at her elbow. 

G R A N!’ yelled Hero.

Gran narrowed her eyes, smiled and tried to lift one arm in the air to wave. It was then Hero saw that Gran was handcuffed.


About the author

Gary Haq is an environmental researcher. When he’s not involved in his own eco-adventures, he likes to write, read, learn languages and explore new cultures. Gary spends his time between York, England and Laveno, Italy. My Dad, the Earth Warrior is his first children’s book. view profile

Published on June 05, 2018

Published by

40000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Middle grade

Reviewed by

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