'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 20 December 2019

Review: Hooray for Horrible Harriet

Children's literature gives us characters that we fall in love with, for me one of them is Leigh Hobb's, Mr Chicken. 

There are four books in the Mr Chicken series; Mr Chicken Goes to Paris (2009), Mr Chicken Lands on London (2014), Mr Chicken Ariva a Roma (2016) and earlier this year Mr Chicken All Over Australia (2019). But when did we first meet Mr Chicken?

In the story Horrible Harriet, we first catch a glimpse of a Miss Chicken, aka Horrible Harriet. Miss C tried to scare the new boy Athol Egghead, but he thought she was charming.  Unfortunately, by the end of this book Athol has to leave and Harriet is once again alone, with no friends.

In Hobb's next book, Hooray for Horrible Harriet, readers once again follow Harriet's horrible escapades at school. High in the school, Harriet adds '...a secret ingredient to a new dish, Chicken Surprise...BOOM!' Out of the smoke Harriet is thrilled to discover that she has made a friend, Mr Chicken. 

Harriet's new friend is not polite or shy like her former friend Athol. Knowing that friends are '...hard to make...', Harriet decides to keep Mr Chicken a secret. Mr Chicken is locked in Harriet's room while she goes to class. Another school day begins, where behind Mr Boggle's back Harriet is 'BIG AND NOISY, STRANGE AND SCARY!

The school thought one Harriet was enough until they meet an extra student, Mr Chicken. He is even bigger, noisier and scarier than Harriet. Harriet becomes jealous of the attention that Mr Chicken gets from the other children and teachers. Harriet felt left out and  forgotten.  Something had to be done, maybe she could feed Mr Chicken some soup that contained a extra special ingredient.

Having been a teacher for many years, Hobb creates characters that remind us of people that we have interacted with during our school days. Children find these, over the top, characters relatable and  hilarious. 

Mr Chicken can be currently found at the Story Time: Australian Children's Literature Exhibition at the National Library of Australia in Canberra until 9 February 2020 and in Stephanie Owen Reeder's book that accompanies the exhibition, Story Time Stars.

Title: Hooray For Horrible Harriet
Author/Illustrator: Leigh Hobbs
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $15.99
Publication Date: 1 April 2008
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781741147032
For ages: 4 – 8
Type: Picture Book