Blog Tour: Small Bites Back written by Hannah Moffatt and illustrated by Rory Walker

Published by Everything With Words on 11th May

Thank you to Mikka at Everything With Words for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour for Small Bites Back. Today, I am excited to share a wonderful post from Hannah Moffatt:  Why humour’s a great empathy-builder. I’m also sharing my review of this fang-tastically brilliant story!

Why humour’s a great empathy-builder

by Hannah Moffatt

When I wrote SMALL BITES BACK, I loved challenging fantasy stereotypes:
· Vampires survive on a diet of blood.
· Vampires burn in the sun.
· Vampires are bad. Tooth fairies are good.
In SMALL BITES BACK (spoiler alert!) none of these are true. As a writer, flipping the script is fun. For readers, it’s a chance to flip their own thinking, too.
That’s one of the great things about comedy, and a reason I think funny books are so important: they encourage young readers to grow into open-minded adults.
After all, humour helps us question power – just look how often comedians use it to take swipes at politicians. And comedy plays on surprise, by deliberately not giving you the answers your brain is wired to expect. My boss loves telling us about the vicar in the town where he grew up. Specifically, he likes telling us about the names the vicar chose for his sons: Matthew, Mark, Luke … and Derek. Everyone laughs at the story. But just because we expect the last name to be John, doesn’t make it true. People can surprise us – if we give them the chance.
In SMALL BITES BACK, swamp creatures have grown up believing the tooth fairies’ warnings that they should stay away from the vampire dentists. Harvey has grown up assuming if he ever encountered a vampire, it would bite him. But as the story goes on, Harvey gradually comes to understand the vampires’ world and challenge his assumptions.
In stories humour doesn’t just surprise us, it builds empathy. It teaches readers to question their thinking and see things from fresh points of view – whether those are the views of a vampire dentist or the wobbly new kid who’s just arrived in your class.
I really hope the stereotype switch ups I’ve made in my stories make readers smile. But more than that, I hope they get children questioning the stories they tell themselves about other people. Who knows; that new kid who looks or acts different to you, might just end up being your best friend…


Small! was one of my absolute favourite reads of last year, so I was very excited to see that Harvey is back in Small Bites Back, and what a fang-tastically playful, gigglesome and heart-warming treat it is!   This can be read as a standalone, but I have no doubt that readers who haven’t already met Harvey will be grabbing a copy of Small! for a giant treat after reading his latest adventure!

Harvey has now been accepted at Madame Bogbrush’s School for Giants – even if he’s not actually a giant – but, he is the new Chosen One, responsible for saving his classmates from grave danger – like not having their homework done!  Harvey is worried that even more serious trouble will find him, and he’s not wrong!  Well, I mean, being confronted by zombie clowns is – probably – more dangerous than facing Madame Bogbrush with an excuse for not having homework done. 

The clowns have been sent by the Unspeakable Circus’ Ring Mistress to take Norma Enormous and Twinkle, the football-loving Skelephant to perform there.  Oh, and she wants Harvey too!  If they don’t go, she has threatened to set zombie lions on the school.  Norma and Twinkle have signed Never-Ending Contracts which cannot be broken – or can they?  Could the bite marks that Harvey has spotted be a clue to breaking them, and freeing his friends? 

So begins the MOST brilliant, fast-paced, laugh-until-your-belly-aches adventure as Harvey and his best friend, Walloping Toenail, find themselves heading into the mountains to find a dentist.  And, oh my, do they find a dentist!  Viscount Bloodsucker, who has a penchant for black hair dye and sparkling teeth, runs the Happy Fang Dental Surgery.  Oh, by the way – he’s a VAMPIRE!  But these vampires are more interested in blood oranges and convincing the other creatures of the Stinking Sinking Swamp that dental check-ups are important -if only others would visit them and take their oral hygiene seriously! Overcoming his fear, Harvey asks for help from the vampires.  Can they assist him in locating the source of the bite mark to break the never-ending contracts and save his friends?  Can Harvey outsmart the Ring Mistress before he becomes a zombie lion meal?

Oh my goodness!  This really is the most wonderful adventure, brimming with everything to delight young (and older) readers!  Giggles galore, twists and turns, danger, and astonishing revelations not to mention trouble-making tooth fairies, zombie lions and werewolves!    I loved the inclusion of Bonnie Bonbon’s Vampire Surveillance Reports, Clot’s apprentice notes, the chapter headings, the use of capitalisation and bold text, all of which will appeal to young readers.  And Chapter 4 – genius!   I also adored the many wonderfully warm and sometimes ever-so-slightly yucky illustrations sprinkled throughout the text which complement the story perfectly. 

I adored being back with Harvey and his friends, especially the wonderfully loyal Walloping Toenail who overcomes his own fears to support his friend. I also enjoyed the development of his new friendship with apprentice dentist Clot. Harvey feels the weight of expectation from his parents and school, but proves himself to be a wonderful friend who faces his fears with courage, and whose own kindness brings out the best in others.  As he learns more about the vampires, Harvey finds himself challenging the stereotypes he has, and by doing so, opens himself up to a new friendship. 

Small Bites Back sparkles with friendship and warmth, guaranteed to bring jaw-aching grins of delight to young readers of 7+. 

Thank you to Mikka at Everything With Words for providing me with an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Do check out the other stops on this fang-tastic Blog Tour :

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