Hugo desperately wants a gerbil but Dad thinks it is cruel to keep animals in cages. They strike a deal: if Hugo can spend seven hours alone in his empty, newly-painted bedroom, then Dad will buy him the gerbil he wants. At first Hugo is confident: Dad has allowed him three toys to keep him amused. But he soon finds there's only so much you can do with a box of bricks, an old-glove puppet and a monkey on a stick. Time crawls and then seems to grind to a halt. Hugo's imagination takes over. First he is stranded aboard a raft and circled by a man-eating shark. Then he flies free as a bird, and sinks like a drowning man. Finally, after a furious argument with his own brain, Hugo decides that he wouldn't wish life in a cage on anyone, not even a gerbil!
Used availability for Anne Fine's Countdown
March 2006 : Canada Library Binding
September 2001 : UK Hardback
April 1996 : UK Hardback
March 2006 : Canada Paperback
September 2001 : UK Paperback