Henry Haynes and The Great Escape is a fun black and white illustrated story for ages 6-8 about a boy who falls inside his library book and gets caught up in a zoo escape that’s been masterminded by Gordon, a rather smelly gorilla…!
This fun and fast-paced page-turner with short chapters is aimed at early readers from age 6 as well as slighter older ones looking for a quick and entertaining read.
Here’s the all-important back cover blurb 🙂
Once again I worked with my Bosnian illustrator, Damir Kundalić, who pulled out all the stops to come up with the fun illustrations of Brian, the bossy boa constrictor who’s been put in charge of the escape, as well as Gordon and all the other animals in the story. Here are a couple of taster illustrations 🙂
And here’s a short fun video I made for the book before the cover update 🙂
Where to buy Henry Haynes and The Great Escape
You can order Henry Haynes online or from most bricks and mortar bookshops worldwide. The links below offer just a few examples of where to find it online.
It’s also stocked by some independent bookshops such as The Barnes Bookshop SW13 .
During the summer term of 2014, soon after its launch, I took Henry Haynes into three schools and for a book signing in Wimbledon Books. Here’s my blog post about how things went >> Henry Haynes and the Great Escape gets off to a flying start 🙂
Henry Haynes and the Great Escape audiobook
is it free anywhere?
I’m afraid not, Kaye – but if you download the free sampler Story Stack from Amazon you can get a free copy of the audio book. Who is it for out of interest?
We have just finished reading this book in our group reading and asked our teacher if we could send a message.
It made our day reading about Henry because it was funny and exciting.
We wondered how you got your ideas for the book and where the names came from?
We liked the animals escaping so they had more space and weren’t trapped in the cage. What’s your favourite animal in the book?
Thanks for your great book! We are going to look for more of yours to read.
Hello Year 5! How lovely to hear from you – I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed Henry Haynes and the Great Escape 🙂
In answer to your questions, the idea for the story came from a mix of many things (which is so often the case with my stories!). One is most certainly the visits we used to make to London Zoo with our boys when they were little. The smelly gorilla there always intrigued me with his very human looking eyes and it made me wonder how he felt about living in a cage with people coming to stare at him. So that was one part of the inspiration. As for his smell — well I can almost still smell him now it was so bad – and I knew that children would love that!
Brian the Boa was partly inspired by the snake Kaa in Jungle Book who was always so funny :). And the voices of the animals were possibly partly inspired by a programme I used to watch as a child called Animal Magic with Johnny Morris, who was brilliant at talking in the sort of voice he imagined the animal would have if it could speak in human language. Your teacher will be able to find videos of the programme on YouTube.
Funnily enough, when writing the story I didn’t think about any of these influences — mostly I realised afterwards where they had come from! And that is often the case when thinking about some of the finer detail within my stories.
My favourite animal in the book is Brian the Boa I think – he’s rather bossy but in his heart he’s a kind snake :))
One last thing — when I first came up with the idea of a boy falling inside a book after saying it was boring, it was because one of my sons, George, hardly every picked up a book, so I was trying to come up with a story that would excite him. (That is also why I wrote Eeek! The Runaway Alien about the soccer-mad alien who runs away to Earth for the World Cup!) In fact, the first title for Henry Haynes and the Great Escape was “I Hate Books!” but I decided that was a very boring name!
Thank you again for your message and feel free to ask again if you read any more of my books. And do ask your teacher to get in touch about a school visit in person (or via Skype depending where the school is) if that would be of interest.
With very best wishes and keep on reading and writing!