Willard Price's Adventure series

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The "Adventure" series is a collection of children's adventure novels by Canadian-born American author Willard Price. The fourteen-book series chronicles the exploits of budding teenage zoologists Hal and Roger Hunt, as they travel around the world capturing exotic and dangerous animals for their father's wildlife collection.

Shortly before his death, in 1983, Price commented that:

My aim in writing the Adventure series for young people was to lead them to read by making reading exciting and full of adventure. At the same time I want to inspire an interest in wild animals and their behavior. Judging from the letters I have received from boys and girls around the world, I believe I have helped open to them the worlds of books and natural history.[1]


The sons of respected animal collector John Hunt, Hal and Roger have taken a year off school to help capture animals for their father's collection on Long Island, after which the captive specimens are sold to zoos, circuses and nature parks. In Amazon Adventure, the boys' literary debut, Hal is eighteen years old and Roger is thirteen years old.

Hal is the typical hero: tall, handsome, and muscular, possessing an almost limitless knowledge of natural history and a caring and trusting disposition. Roger, on the other hand, is an ardent practical joker, often mischievous but just as resilient and resourceful as his older brother.


Each novel in the Adventure series is notable for its memorable selection of loathsome villains and enemies. Some of these, through their interactions with Hal and Roger, are led to redeem their past misdeeds, while others simply suffer the consequences of their actions. Only one enemy, the cunning "Reverend" Merlin Kaggs, appears as a villain in more than one book.


In October 2006, the Price family of Holden, Massachusetts entered into an agreement to sell the copyrights and related legal rights for the fourteen Adventure series titles, plus the right to use Price's name, to London-based literary brand owner and investor Fleming Literary Management for an undisclosed six-figure sum.[2][3]

In July 2011, it was announced that English author Anthony McGowan had been contracted by Puffin Books to write four new books based on Willard Price's classic wildlife adventures series.[4]

The first, Leopard Adventure, will see Hal's son Fraser and Roger's daughter Amazon meet for the first time, before sending them off on an adventure to save the rare Amur leopard. Fans of the original titles will be surprised to learn that brothers Hal and Roger, who enjoyed a close relationship as teenagers, sent off as they were by their father to capture animals alive for zoos, have fallen out in the new books.[4]

"Hal Hunt has set up this organisation which goes around the world saving species and his son Fraser works with him on that. He's fallen out with Roger who's a freelance conservationist – there's some sibling rivalry there. Hal's slightly hand in hand with big business, he's slightly compromised, and Roger's more of a free spirit," said McGowan, a fan of the Price novels as a child. "Roger and his wife have disappeared and because Amazon's parents have gone missing, Fraser comes to meet her."[4]


David Barnett, writing for The Guardian in 2010, praised the book series, writing that "Price not only knew all the right buttons to press to excite a young reader – exotic locations, nasty villains, wild animals and lashings of peril – but also managed to weave into his adventures a strong yet subtle conservation message."[5] English novelist David Mitchell has cited the Adventure series as among his favourite books as a child.[6]

According to Richard Phillips, who studied the politics of the series, Willard Price acknowledges decolonisation in his writing, but does so through a "conventionally colonial lens."[7] He adds that:

Price acknowledges decolonization but reproduces colonialist tropes in his portrayal of Africa. His adventure stories illustrate the sort of geographical literature that critics sought to change, initially to catch up with the facts and values of decolonization, ultimately to contribute to the critical transformation of those facts and values.[7]


Willard Price[edit]

Title Year Summary
Amazon Adventure 1949 Hal and Roger Hunt crash-land into the middle of a pioneering expedition to the unmapped regions of the greatest jungle on earth: the Amazon. And when their mission to explore the uncharted territory of the Pastaza River goes off course... it's the survival of the fittest.
South Sea Adventure 1952 Hal and Roger Hunt sink deep into danger when a specimen-collecting trip takes them into the lost world of the South Seas. But the deep-sea trawl has a hidden agenda - a top secret mission for Professor Stuyvesant, and his scientific experiments in Pearl Lagoon.
Underwater Adventure 1954 Hal and Roger Hunt dive into danger when they join the Oceanographic Institute as part of an underwater operation in the South Seas. And it's sink or swim for the intrepid brothers when their aquatic adventures bring them face to face with a foe more deadly than the sea creatures of the deep.
Volcano Adventure 1956 Hal and Roger Hunt embark on an earth-shattering expedition when they join forces with world-famous volcanologist, Dr. Dan Adams. But is the Dr. out of his mind with hatred? And as their research of the volatile Pacific volcanoes hots up, the brothers' mission erupts into an awesome adventure.
Whale Adventure 1960 Hal and Roger Hunt are hoping to have a whale of a time when they agree to join the crew of a whaling ship. But as they begin working for the evil Captain Grindle, face dangerous battles with sharks, and then find themselves shipwrecked, the boys realise they're about to have a much bigger adventure than they'd bargained for.
African Adventure 1963 Hal and Roger Hunt are on the trail of a vicious man-eating leopard. Yet they are also being hunted themselves, by a merciless band of killers known as the Leopard Society. Can they trust their own tracker, Joro, despite knowing he has pledged to lead them to their deaths? Will Joro save the Hunts or will he join his unruly friends that have been sentenced to death by the men of all leopards?
Elephant Adventure 1964 Hal and Roger Hunt are on an awesome African adventure to track down the rare great white elephant. The brothers coolly tackle their task - despite doom-laden prophecies from Mumbo, a Watussi chieftain - and as the temperature rises, the danger intensifies. Can the boys tackle the mountains of the moon?
Safari Adventure 1966 Hal and Roger Hunt fly straight into the jaws of death when they join warden Mark Crosby in Tsavo, an African park where poaching is big business. And with a gang leaving behind a blood-stained trail of terror and torture, the heat is on for the brothers to solve the string of mysterious murders - before they too become victims.
Lion Adventure 1967 Hal and Roger the men of the group Hunt have been sent on a terrifying mission - they must save the population of Mtito Andei from a man-eating lion. But the 'King of the Beasts' isn't the only thing trying to kill the boys. Have the brothers bitten off more than they can chew this time?
Gorilla Adventure 1969 Hal and Roger Hunt head off for another challenging mission - this time to search for gorillas deep in the Congo jungle. But when the boys stumble across the evil trade in baby gorillas, someone seems determined to silence them once and for all.
Diving Adventure 1969 Hal and Roger Hunt dive straight into danger on a specimen-collecting trip to Undersea City. But it's not just sharks and killer whales the brothers have to fear, when they are plunged into the depths of another adventure.
Cannibal Adventure 1972 Hal and Roger Hunt are in New Guinea, the most wild and savage island in the world. But their adventure becomes even more deadly when the brothers discover that man-eating crocodiles and deadly snakes aren't the only things after their blood.
Tiger Adventure 1979 Hal and Roger Hunt are in India, investigating rare and dangerous animals for their father. But on the trail of the rare white tiger, high in the Himalayas, disaster strikes and the brothers realise they are walking into the jaws of death.
Arctic Adventure 1980 Hal and Roger Hunt are colder than they've ever been in their lives, up among the ice floes of Greenland. This harsh land holds many dangers, from killer whales to polar bears, but an evil man may turn out to be the deadliest threat the boys have to face.

Anthony McGowan[edit]

Title Year Summary
Leopard Adventure 2012 Amazon Hunt (daughter of Roger), aged twelve, is recruited from England by Tracks in America, ready to take off at a moment's notice to rescue wild animals under threat - no matter how great the danger. Now Amazon and her thirteen-year-old cousin Frazer (son of Hal) must brave the Russian wilderness to save the Amur leopard, before a blazing forest fire wipes out the race for good.
Bear Adventure 2013 Amazon and her cousin Frazer are members of Tracks. Normally they protect the world's rarest animals, but their mission just got personal. Amazon's parents have been lost in a tragic plane crash - her only hope is that they are wandering the wild forests of Canada. But they are not alone in the brutal wilderness. Two Spirit Bears, a mother and her cub, are searching for food. When a boy is attacked, these beautiful creatures become the hunted.
Shark Adventure 2013 On a remote Polynesian island, Amazon Hunt and her cousin Frazer, recruits of Tracks animal protection agency, are saving rare leatherback turtles. But an international animal smuggler wants the valuable turtles for himself. And, when a huge typhoon strikes, Amazon and Frazer face an even greater danger.
Python Adventure 2014 Amazon's parents have been kidnapped, and the trail leads to the buzzing city of Mumbai, India. Meanwhile, there are reports that a giant and very rare python has been spotted high in the foothills of the Himalayas and it needs help. Frazer has no choice but to leave Amazon so he can rescue the snake while she continues her search.


  1. ^ Rubinstein, Matt (2005), 'Adventure Adventure' mattrubinstein.com.au
  2. ^ Mark Kleinman, Asia Business Editor (17 November 2006). "Fleming media banks on Price estate". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Willard Price & Fleming Literary". Fleming Literary. Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Flood, Alison (28 July 2011). "Willard Price's Adventure series to be relaunched". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  5. ^ David Barnett, "Willard Price's stories make reading an adventure for young people" The Guardian, 21 July 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  6. ^ Wyatt Mason, "David Mitchell, the Experimentalist", The New York Times, 25 July 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b Richard Phillips, "Politics of reading: decolonizing children’s geographies" Cultural Geographies (April 2001), 8(2): 125-150. Retrieved 19 November 2015.