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My favourite children’s book

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By Andy Stanton—Author

Andy Stanton remembers when he was eight years old and empathised with a boy named Mouse

Andy Stanton

I borrowed The Eighteenth Emergency by Betsy Byars (Red Fox, £4.99 PB, ISBN 0099408678) from the library when I was eight, and I can still vividly remember sitting at the kitchen table reading it in one go. The story touches on something that most people can relate to: the fear that something terrible is going to happen to you and no one can possibly help. The hero is a boy named Mouse who’s worried about being beaten up by Marv Hammerman, the toughest boy in the school. All week long Mouse wonders how to escape his predicament, but he just cannot think of a way out. This simple story is beautifully told. It’s funny, honest, sad and thoughtful all mixed together. I also liked it because I was quite like Mouse myself as a child – not a bad kid, just a bit too cheeky for my own good. And some people would say I am still like that today

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