Ferret Boy, by Sue Lawson

There are two things Joshua really loves – his ferrets and his Gramps, who gave him the ferrets. But in just one week, Joshua faces the prospect of losing both the ferrets and Gramps.

First, Joshua accepts a bet from Mooney, the school bully, to race Bucks, his favourite ferret, in the Hartley Ferret Derby. Josh knows nothing about ferret racing, but he needs to learn quickly – because if Bucks loses, Josh loses her – to Mooney.

As if that isn’t enough to put Josh under stress, Gramps has a stroke and is taken to hospital. Josh thinks he’s going to die.

WIth support from his family and instructions from Gramps, Josh keeps training Bucks for the Derby. In the meantime he has to cope with the disappearance of his other ferret, Eddie, the taunts of Mooney, who is sure he will win the bet, and the moods of his big brother Matt. Then, on the morning of the derby, Bucks has the biggest shock of all in stall for Josh. Will he lose both his ferrets to bully Mooney?

Ferret Boy is an excellent combination of fun, adventure and message, as it explores family, friendshsips and bullying, among other subjects. Likely to appeal to ten to fourteen year old readers, this novel would be great as a class novel as well as for private reading.

Ferret Boy, by Sue Lawson
Lothian, 2003