I love reading Kate Foster’s books, she writes such heart-warming and empathy-filled stories that address real issues that many children (and adults) have to deal with. Her latest read is pitched at a younger audience than Paws and The Bravest Word (one of my favourite reads of last year) so even more children can enjoy her storytelling.
Eight-year-old Harriet Hound is obsessed with dogs. This is a good thing as she and her family run a rescue shelter for dogs. Harriet also has a very big secret…a birthday gift from her nana has given her the power to summon the exact dog needed in any situation. She and her canine companions have been very busy lately, saving humans, animals, insects, bicycles and even a toilet.
The work of a superhero is never done though and trouble is always foot. Missing vegetables, a sudden storm at the wetlands, a looming carnival catastrophe… will Harriet be able to summon the perfect pooch to save the day…
A sprinkle of magic, a superhero in doggy pjs and a dog for every occasion are the stars in this paw-some tail. Foster writes of Harriet’s exciting life with bags of heart and a clear understating of autism that shines through in each of the three short stories. Young readers will thoroughly enjoy the different mysteries and the repetitive plot structure makes for a very enjoyable reading experience. I especially loved the delightful endings in each story that have one of the heroic hounds finding a forever home
Kind, caring and wildlife-loving Harriet is a fantastic character. The little girl, who never lets her autism stop her from doing things, loves life, and dogs, and has a wonderfully supportive family. Through her eyes, we are able to understand how she experiences the world and how she goes about navigating everyday situations. Harriet shares the importance of touch and her love for soft and silky things, her dislike of talking too much and looking people directly in the eye. Familiar things are ok, unfamiliar things are carefully planned and talked about in advance, her noise-cancelling headphones, pug-head stress ball and her stimming actions, such as the clicking of fingers, help to keep her calm, and she often talks in threes.
Children need to see themselves in books and anyone who has autism will be delighted by Harriet. For others, it is a chance to listen to or read a story that explores what it is like in the shoes of a child who experiences challenges in life that are different to their own and to believe what it is like even when it doesn’t match their own experiences.
Sophie Beer’s illustrations bring the delightful doggies and their personalities to life and we get to meet a whole host of the dogs at the rescue home thanks to ‘Harriet’s Fact Sheets’ that feature portraits of the dogs and some facts about each of them. Do I have a favourite? I have always had a soft spot for a Retriever - friendly, intelligent and adores their owner.
A must read for animal lovers and doggie owners. Gets four paws up from me!
Recommended for 6+.
With huge thanks to Kate Foster and Walker for the very special paw-printed copy I received in exchange for an honest review.