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

Thursday 4 May 2023

Review: Harriet Hound

The Hound family are animal friendly. So is the huge house they live in built by Harriet’s grandparents as a place to welcome homeless dogs that are treated like guests until they are rehomed.

This passion was ignited after Harriet’s grandparents rescued a mother dog and her pups. So, the house was named Hound Rescue. And that’s exactly what the Hound family practices. 

Harriet is observant, full of activity, and good with numbers. She has a routine and her swimming that keeps her energy under control. She wears noise-cancelling earphones and carries her pug-head stress ball everywhere. At her special school, excursions and outdoor activities are a priority.

The magic starts for Harriet on the day of her eighth birthday with a dusty box beside her bed and a note from Grandma. 

It informs Harriet that by following the instructions from the tiny book enclosed, she will become a superhero, just like her.

Harriet gives it a go. Instantly, she is equipped with magical pyjamas covered in pictures of the dogs in the Rescue, a special mantra to repeat, which, while touching the image of the dog most suited to the current situation, calls it to her and both become invisible superheroes, able to solve mysteries and right wrongs. 

The three stories - Vanishing Vegetables, Sudden Storm, and Carnival Catastrophe, all have several chapters in which each subject is expanded, educating children on fresh food gardening, healthy eating, the weather - its hazards and benefits, and the creative, colourful, and imaginative things of which people are capable.

We are delighted by Harriet’s Fact Sheets; a series of dog images accompanied by a list of each breed’s characteristics.  For those considering owning a rescue dog, Harriet’s Guide to Rescuing a Dog is invaluable. Do your research first!

What I loved most about Harriet Hound is how Kate Foster brings autism right to the reader. She builds pictures with words that show Harriet’s habits and how the child conducts her life by adhering to familiar rituals, all presented in a light-hearted way. 

Readers will love Harriet and I think we may not have heard the last of her extraordinary character. 

Sophie Beer’s lively illustrations add to the joy the book is encased in.

Lucky SE QLDers have the opportunity to join Kate and Sophie this Saturday, 6 May at the Where The Wild Things Are bookshop in Brisbane's West End for a special reading to mark the launch of Harriet Hound. Bookings can be made, online.

Title: Harriet Hound
Author: Kate Foster
Illustrator: Sophie Beer
Publisher: Walker Books, $15.99
Publication Date: 3 May 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760654702
For ages: 6+
Type: Junior Fiction