Runner-up Times Chicken House Fiction Competition
... with great power at your fingertips, comes great danger.
When Septimus inherits a magical, treasure-finding Hairy Hand from his uncle, life suddenly becomes a lot more exciting – and dangerous!
‘Hairy Hand’ is a stonking adventure of a story. I dare you not to laugh, weep, and cheer
on Sept – as well as fall in love with the devious and dastardly Mr and Mrs Plog!
Alex Campbell, author of LAND and CLOUD 9
… a word (or two) from the Author
If you’re a boy who likes scary books with jokes;
If you’re a girl who is fed up with reading about ponies, boyfriends or sleepovers;
If you’re a parent who wonders if your precious darling is ever going to read a book, then hit the BUY button like it's a mosquito that's just landed on your leg!
This story is for any kid who has looked at his or her parents and seriously wondered if they were adopted (or worse), for any boy or girl who likes the thought of being able to find hidden riches and master immense magical power (as if).
True, there will be lots of good and even excellent middle grade books published in 2019, but The Hairy Hand – a scary fantasy book for kids (with jokes) – is a bit different. A lot different, actually.
With a gruesome cast of characters such as Skrewskint the Miser, Stomp the Bully and Plog the Sneaker (good-for-nothing burglar), The Hairy Hand isn’t really like anything out there.
Then again, the Hand itself is pretty unique – and so is the main character, Septimus (Sept, for short).
First of all, there aren’t that many funny ‘horror’ books for kids on the shelves in Waterstones or in Amazon warehouses.
Secondly, if you google ‘books for boys’ or ‘books like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children’ The Hairy Hand could well pop up … good old Google … but there’s much more to it than that.
The Hairy Hand is also an adventure book, and it’s a mystery waiting to be solved – a conundrum de-conundrumed.
Sept really, really needs to know who he is AND the Hand needs him to know what he can do. And as books for boys go, it’s basically just as good for girls (take it from me, it’s been tried on dozens).
Buy now or read the extract below of our new gothic scary children's story and be able to say you were one of the first!
From a tower, far away from you.
Introducing Sept, the awful Plogs, the Village of Nowhere and the letter that changed everything
When Septimus Plog was small he liked to play in puddles outside his house. Sometimes he would look up and see his mother watching him from the kitchen window. He would stop and wave at her with all his little might … then wait; but she never waved back. Not once.
He always knew he was very different from everyone else in the village and Septimus often wondered if that was why his mother seemed not to like him very much.
For starters, he had this name. Septimus (Sept, for short). Everyone else his age was called Garp, Darg or Dorgk or Blaarg. Good, honest names that sounded like you were sneezing into custard or you had swallowed something pointy.
Secondly, he read books – by the sack, when he could get his hands on them. As far as he knew, no-one else in his village read anything except graffiti. And quite how Sept knew how to read was a mystery: there were no schools for a hundred miles, no teachers and, more to the point, Sept couldn’t remember ever not being able to read. Printed words in books just popped into his head, as if someone was telling the story out loud.
Unfortunately, in the Plog household there were only two books: the one he kept secret from his parents; and the one they kept a secret from him. Sept had only ever glimpsed it when he’d come home once and caught his mother staring at the cover as if she dared not open it. It was a small book with a black cover, like dead bats’ wings, and no title. Something about the book scared Sept very much indeed. His mother kept the Black Book in her apron pocket.
The other one – his secret book – he had read so many times he knew it almost by heart. It was called, How to be Happy, and it had twelve chapters, each with a simple idea for looking on the bright side of life. It was Sept’s most treasured possession, one that was just his. He hid it away in his room under a floorboard – because where he came from, possessions were just things other people hadn’t got around to stealing yet.
Apart from him, everyone else in the village seemed to have some sort of point: There was Begre, next door, who made pig food for his dad’s pigs. He used rotten turnips, boiled acorns and mud; there was Flargh the Meat grinder (although, generally, if Flargh offered you one of his burgers, you checked where the cat was first, before you knew whether to eat or bury it); there was Stomp the Bully and, of course, Spew the Puker.
‘Is puking really a job?’ Sept asked his dad as they trudged along through the mud past one or two shops. His father, Plog the Sneaker, wiped a runny nose with the back of his hand before slapping Sept around the back of his head.
‘Don’t talk soft. Course it is. Donkey doo brain!’
A Sneaker was a night thief and it was one of the most respected jobs to have, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the village and everyone in it. Sept’s dad came from a long line of Sneakers. Dark-haired, black eyes and enormous eyebrows – like two very hairy caterpillars had been glued to his forehead. He was also short, stocky and incredibly strong. Ideal Sneaker. Plog pinched goats, chickens, sheep, any food left lying about and even the thatch from roofs. Sept’s dad would steal anything not nailed down. And if it was nailed down, he’d come back later with a claw hammer.
They were at the end of the road; beyond them it was hundreds of miles of nothing and nobody. Their village didn’t even have a proper name. People just called it, Nowhere.
Most of the time Sept tried to look on the bright side, just as his book kept reminding him to do: he was given food once a day, sometimes twice, and it wasn’t always turnip — once a month they got a bit of meat off Flargh and sometimes you could actually swallow it, if you chewed for long enough. The main problem with Nowhere was that nothing nice ever happened. People in it just went on being selfish and stupid, day after day, after day …
He searched out his reflection in a dirty shop window. A small boy, with fair hair and narrow features gazed back unhappily. Who was he and why didn’t he fit in?
Win £500 of book vouchers!
Just answer the three questions below:
Where does Sept live?
What treasure does the Hairy Hand find first?
What would you do with a magical (treasure-finding, amongst other things) Hairy Hand?
The person who answers the first two questions correctly and gives the most imaginative answer to the third will be the winner.
Send you answers to
Do not forget your name and full address!
Closing date for entries 1 April 2019
Prize will be announced end of April 2019
Terms and Conditions
No purchase necessary.
The Hairy Hand Book Token Competition is open to all people of any age but restricted to one entry per household. The competition is being administered and run by Monster Books.
No entries permitted from friends or family of anyone working for Monster Books.
The book vouchers can be from any recognised retailer of the winner’s choice.
Monster Books management will judge the award and has final say on who wins. Monster Books management reserves the right not to make an award if none of the entries is of sufficient standard.
For fuller terms and conditions please refer to statutory laws relating to Prize Competitions in the UK.