A heart-warming account of growing up.

Sunday Star Times

My Friend Percy and Buffalo Bill


Although Ulf’s parents see Percy as an unsuitable friend, everyone else seems to love him. Including Ulf’s summer crush, Pia…


  • Description

    In My Friend Percy and Buffalo Bill, the amiable and charming Percy invites himself to join Ulf on his summer holiday on an island in the Swedish archipelago. Though Ulf’s parents view Percy as an unsuitable friend for their son, everyone else, including Ulf’s curmudgeonly grandfather, appears to love him. But it is too much for Ulf when his summer crush, Pia, also begins to show signs of affection for Percy.

  • Book Details

    Country of Origin Sweden
    Reader Age 6-8 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. Parent & School Today, 31 October 2008

      A young boy’s yearly routine of travelling to a Western Sweden island to spend the summer with his grandparents is suddenly shaken up when his schoolyard ‘blood brother’ mistakes a casual comment about the trip as an open invitation to tag along. Ulf usually looks forward to his trip, but this year is different.

    2. Trevor Agnew, The Press, 6 September 2008

      My Friend Percy and Buffalo Bill is Ulf Stark’s third story about a friendship with the hard-case Percy. This time we learn more about Percy as he invites himself along on Ulf’s summer holiday with his grandparents on a Swedish island. All our expectations are reversed as Percy fits in with everyone, while the stirrings of adolescence make the naive Ulf ill-at-ease. ‘I still wasn’t happy,’ muses Ulf, ‘Was I turning into a teenager?’
      As always, Percy solves matters in an unexpected way, lifting Grandpa out of his depression, creating a reconciliation and bringing contentment to Ulf. This trilogy is a touching account of a remarkable and funny friendship.

    3. David Larsen, Children’s books of the year feature, The Listener, 20 December 2008

      My Friend Percy and Buffalo Bill is the third of Ulf Stark’s gentle, funny books about the growing pains of a Swedish boy and his oddball best friend. The flavour of Starks’s writing is unique and yet thoroughly familiar, perhaps because he captures so much of the feel of childhood on the cusp of adolescence.

    4. Sunday Star Times, 6 December 2008

      Best Junior Fiction book, Sunday Star Times, Great in ’08 feature
      Ulf Stark’s books are charming, zany and occasionally profound and the third in this series sees Ulf and his incorrigible friend Percy head off to a Swedish island. This is a heart-warming account of growing up.

    5. Sam Rogers (aged 13), Wairarapa Times-Age, 30 August 2008

      I did not really like this book probably because I have not read the rest of the books and this the last of the series. It takes place in Sweden. Ulf spends the summer with his grandparents but is suddenly shaken up when Percy (his school yard ‘blood brother’) mistakes a casual comment as an open invitation to come along too. It would be really good I think if you had read the first two in the series. Some people say it is very funny.

    6. Jac Payn, 9 yrs, Montessori Voices

      This story is about best friends who become blood brothers and spend their summer together on an island. The holiday doesn’t go as smoothly as planned because one of the boy’s summer crushes starts to show affection for the WRONG blood brother. I liked this book because the characters were funny and interesting and I particularly liked Ulf’s grandfather because he is cantankerous and has uranium in his brain!
      I thought all the characters were really, really good and I haven’t found characters like them in any other book before. They each have personalities – some are quiet like Ulf’s Grandma, some are angry like Ulf’s Grandpa, some are young and active like Ulf and Percy, some are fearless and not afraid of Black Demon the horse and some of the characters think that Percy is Einstein, The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ all stuffed into one person! Despite this Percy remains humble, and is a very good friend. My friend Percy and Buffalo Bill has all the qualities that a good story should have. The plot is good because it has lots of different mixed emotions – mainly humour. The quirky personalities made this book special and made me laugh a lot. I think children aged 9 – 12 years would enjoy reading this book.

    7. Nelson Mail, 25 June 2008

      My Friend Percy and Buffalo Bill is the third in a series of novels for young readers. Author Ulf Stark is the narrator of each novel. He tells the reader about the adventures that he and his friend Percy got up to when they were nine years old. In this latest book, Ulf invites Percy to holiday with his family on an island where Ulf’s grandparents live. Percy learns to swim and tame a wild horse. Ulf falls in love and builds a hut. Grandpa gets hit by lightning and almost dies. It’s a story about friendship and love, growing up, and growing old. Once again Ulf Stark’s tale is magnificent. This novel, like the two before it, will appeal to readers 8-12 years, particularly boys. Don’t be put off if this doesn’t include you. Any reader will chuckle and feel very good about the world after reading Ulf Stark.

    8. Wanganui Chronicle, 12 July 2008

      Ulf and his family holiday holiday every summer with Grandma and Grandpa on a Swedish island.
      When Percy, Ulf’s best friend, joins the family it turns out to be a very different but unforgettable time.
      The writer, Ulf Stark, has recalled his own childhood memories in this delightful little book. Set in the mid-fifties, the boys are preteens, there is not a computer, Gameboy or Ipod, not even a single TV set, present but the boys have a fantastic time.
      They mess about in boats. They spy on the nudists and play pranks on people around them. They carry matches and penknives in their pockets and they have the odd Chesterfield when no-one is looking. When Percy nearly drowns in the harbour, the kids act without mollycoddling interference from adults.
      They also learn Grandpa is both human and a boy at heart, not just a grumpy old man. It is a wonderful portrayal of the stuff memories are made of and though the story is written for youngsters, it is a book any granddad would treasure.
      It is a beautiful, funny, bittersweet, emotional and everything you can think of from the past that was good, tale of what school holidays used to be like.
      Make haste to the bookstore for this one.

    9. Otago Daily Times, 6 September 2008

      My Friend Percy and Buffalo Bill is another delightful story in this series about the irrepressible Percy.Ulf’s holiday on a Swedish island is shaken up when his blood brother invites himself. Everyone (except Ulf) is enchanted by Percy’s antics, including Ulf’s girlfriend and his curmudgeonly grandfather. Stark is the master of bittersweet comedy, and many life lessons emerge naturally from the humour. The grandfather character is a cracker and the subplot about his marriage is very moving (for adult readers at least). Readers aged over 10 will enjoy this book.

    10. Bay of Plenty Times, 16 August 2008

      …this is the third Percy title that Gecko founder Julia Marshall has translated.
      Our young narrator, Ulf, is on his family summer holiday, which means staying at the island home of his grandparents.
      It may sound like fun but Ulf’s grandmother doesn’t really speak to her husband,while the old man is renowned for his bad temper.
      Ulf has ‘forgotten’ to mention that his best friend, Percy, has invited himself and will join them in a little while, mainly becaue while Percy’s jaunty personality and mad schemes are generally a hit with kids, he’s not so popular with adults.
      But Ulf is so busy daydreaming about the lovely Pia (too bad Pia isn’t interested) he really does forget that Percy is due to turn up.
      Then Ulf’s grandfather has a stroke and things in the house look set to go from bad to worse – although nothing ever goes quite as you’d expect when Percy’s around.
      This is a delightful story, full of quirky charm and unquenchable hope. Life is full of challenges, the author reminds us. How we meet them is up to us. A great chapter book to read out loud, or for confident readers of about 10.

    11. Family Times, Winter 2008

      You’ll love this book! It’s the third one about the likeable Percy. This time he invites himself along on Ulf’s summer holiday and sometimes Ulf wishes he hadn’t! It’s a good read.

    12. Tomorrow’s Schools Today Online Magazine

      Another humorous book in the My Friend Percy series, this time Percy upsets Ulf’s yearly routine of travelling to a Western Sweden island to spend time with his grandparents by mistaking a casual comment about the trip as an open invitation to come along. Although Ulf’s parents view Percy as an unsuitable influence and friend for their son, everyone else on the island, including Ulf’s grandparents are taken by the amiable young person’s charm.

      When Ulf’s summertime crush, Pia, also seems to come under Percy’s spell, childhood jealousy rears its head and threatens to break Ulf’s friendship with Percy apart. My Friend Percy and Buffalo Bill is yet another story written in Ulf Stark’s unmistakeable style of being funny and moving at the same time.
      Those who read and enjoyed Ulf’s other books will love this one too, but it can also be read as a stand-alone book for those who like funny and moving stories but have not read the other books in the My Friend Percy series.

      Link to the TSTNZ online review

    13. Dominion Post Indulgence, 31 May 2008

      Internationally award-winning Swedish writer Ulf Stark’s My Friend Percy and Buffalo Bill [is] the final in his irreverent and highly entertaining trilogy about a boy and his best buddy. It’s the summer holidays and for young Ulf and his family, that means a trip to the island where his grandparents live. Against the odds, the endearingly oddball Percy charms the grumpy granddad, learns to swim and tames a wild horse. Ulf discovers the pain of first love and the pair learn to use a shotgun, build a hut and spy on the local nudists. A touching rite-of-passage story that became a successful feature film.

    14. Justin Johnson, reviewing the film version shown at London Film Festival

      My Friend Percy and Buffalo Bill is as funny as it is moving, and reminds us how easy it is to write people off simply because we don’t understand them.

  • Reviews

    1. Tarek

      Adventurous, intriging, The last book in my friend Percy series is awesome and unexpected, Percy and Ulf are back in this funnytastic last book about Buffalo bill. There will be old favorites Jan, Klaus
      ,Pia and Grandpa and Grandma.

    2. School News, www.schoolnews.co.nz, October 2008

      A young boy’s yearly routine of travelling to a Western Sweden (sic) island to spend the summer with his grandparents is suddenly shaken up when his school yard `blood brother’ mistakes his casual comment about the trip as an open invitation to tag along. Ulf usually looks forward to his trip but this year is different.
      This funny and moving book delves into the meaning of both friendship and difference [and is] by the author of over 30 books and a nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Prize.

    3. Bookman Beattie, Beatties Book Blog, 9th July 2008

      For older children (10+) from an award-winning Swedish author, whose books have been published into more than 20 languages, comes a humorous bittersweet novel about friendship and love over a summer holiday. Read
      beattiesbookblog on recent books by Gecko Press.

    4. The Source, www.magpies.net.au, July 2008

      The naive Ulf is mildly upset when his blood-brother Percy invites himself along on the Stark family’s regular summer holiday on one of Sweden’s western islands. Percy, however, fits in better than expected. Although a great deal of his holiday is spent in exploring, fishing, swimming, insect hunting and ‘mud wars’, Ulf also has time to examine his inner feelings. ‘I still wasn’t happy. Why was that? Was I turning into a teenager?’
      As well as evoking the mood of vanished childhood summer holidays, this novel also provides a gently humorous account of unrequited young love, developing friendships and family relationships. There is also a charming subplot where the boys play a part in the reconciliation of Ulf’s grandparents.
      My Friend Percy and Buffalo Bill is a skilfully told conclusion to one of literature’s oddest and most endearing friendships begun in My Friend Percy’s Magical Gym Shoes and My Friend Percy and the Sheik.

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