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The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean

Press:Bloomsbury USA Bloomsbury USA Children's Books; Reprint edition (May 2, 2006)
Author Name:McCall Smith, Alexander/ Rankin, Laura (ILT)


When Harriet Bean's father mentions that he has five sisters--whom Harriet has never met--she is immediately intrigued. 
Harriet is determined to uncover the whereabouts of her five lost aunts, but with nothing more than an unfinished family portrait and a few outdated clues, will she be able to locate them? Join Harriet in her search to reunite her father with his five lost sisters--Veronica, Harmonica, Majolica, Japonica, and Thessalonika.


Praise for internationally bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith:“At a certain point in reading the No. 
1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books, I experienced something I haven’t felt since reading Nancy Drew books as a child.
I no longer wanted to read about Mma Ramotswe: I wanted to be her.” –The Vancouver Sun

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith has written more than 50 books, including the bestselling No. 
1 Ladies' Detective Agency mysteries and The Sunday Philosophy Club.
A professor of medical law at Edinburgh University, he was born in what is now Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana.Laura Rankin is the illustrator of Rabbit Ears, Swan Harbor and The Handmade Alphabet.
She lives in Maine.


Children's Books,Growing Up & Facts of Life,Family Life,Multigenerational,Literature & Fiction,Chapter Books & Readers,Chapter Books,Mysteries & Detectives

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Comment List (Total:9)

  •     As an ardent fan of Alexander McCall Smith, I reviewed and bought the Harriet Bean series for my grandchildren. The five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean is a must read for young readers. My 7-yr-old grandson could not be torn away from reading this book.

  •     i bought this for my 6 year old granddaughter so the right person to judge really is her. i just provide the books, she reads them.

  •     My 6-year-old grand-daughter loves these books! We recommended them to cousins (boy-7 and girl 10) and they love them, too. I like reading them to her.

  •     AMS always a joy!

  •     I logged onto Amazon to buy this for my niece; kids sometimes are disappointed to get a book as a present so I had to choose one which is guaranteed FUN. I was so taken aback by the negative school library review and had to put in my 2 cents. It is completely wrong. This book is a a beautifully written, silly story whose humor and language appeal perfectly to the 7-8 year old mindset. I found it hilarious. My older daughter giggled her way through it several years ago, and I know my soon-to-be 7 year old will too. It is so much fun I just might have to read it to her so I can giggle too, and let her read the rest of the series to herself (sigh). It is not contrived that some Aunts also look for Harriet-- I actually find it intensely reassuring that not only is the child looking for lost family but the family is also looking for the child!As I wrote this I realized that theme makes it better than ever for my niece, whose parents are divorced.Great book!

  •     This is the best chapter book my kids (six-year-old girls) have read, and they've read a lot. Before discovering the Harriet Bean series, they would sit down and read only one chapter of a book. After receiving "The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean" and "Harriet Bean and the League of Cheats" as gifts, however, they couldn't put them down. They immediately read "Five Lost Aunts"--in one sitting--and read "The League of Cheats" the next day, also in one sitting.Like my daughters, I love every book in the Harriet Bean series. ("The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean" is first in the series, followed by "Harriet Bean and the League of Cheats" and then "The Cowgirl Aunt of Harriet Bean.") In my own list of favorite chapter books, this series is tied for # 1 (along with the "Sarah Plain and Tall" series). It reminds me a bit of the Junie B. Jones series because it is hilarious, but it is better written. It's also more engaging than Junie B. because it's a mystery, and kids are compelled to keep reading not only because of the humor but also because they are driven to find out how the mystery is solved.I strongly disagree with the reviewer from the "School Library Journal," who says the Harriet Bean books are contrived. This review misses the point of the genre. The point is not to have a realistic plot but rather to engage children with humor, charming characters, and suspense.I also appreciate the strong female protagonists in this series. My favorite scene is when Harriet learns about her aunt Veronica, who is a strong-woman in a circus. Veronica was originally told that, as a female, she couldn't enter a strong-man contest, but she enters in disguise and beats all the boys and men. This is one of the most hilarious, gratifying, and empowering scenes I've encountered in a children's book.I can't recommend this series strongly enough. It will engage good readers (the writing is very well-crafted), and it will inspire reluctant readers to keep reading, just as the Harry Potter series does. I wish Alexander McCall Smith would write more books in this series!

  •     In this second book in the "Harriet Bean" series, McCall Smith brings us an interesting and fanciful story. Harriet discovers that her father has 5 sisters, but that he has lost touch with them. To increase the mystery, her father produces a picture of all of them, himself included, without any faces. The painter had been sent away before he was able to paint faces, for lack of additional funds.Harriet is irresistibly drawn to find them. Her need to complete the picture of her family is virtually obsessive. Yet it is truly appropriate. For most people in the end, it turns out to be family that is the most important and the most long lasting of friends and companions. Perhaps this is the primary lesson of Smith's book.In particular, this young to young adult book is specially focused on character development. While Smith always pays attention to character, here for children, he is especially careful. Each of the missing sisters has a distinct character, in fact character is often the method by which Harriet finds the ones that are missing. As an interesting twist, Smith makes two of Harriet's sisters, detectives who run a "Ladies Detective Agency" reminiscent of Smith's other series on that topic. Imagine the wondrous detective stories Smith will weave for us when he puts Harriet together with her Aunts the detectives.The book is recommended for all readers from age 5 to 105. It is fun, it is interesting and it is well written.

  •     I love it!

  •     SUMMARY: Harriet didn't know she had any aunts until her father reveals that she actually has five! Unfortunately, he lost contact with them and has no idea where they could be living. Harriet instantly decides she wants to find these aunts and to have the unfinished family portrait completed. She sets out to find her aunts with a little help from people along the way.ILLUSTRATIONS: There are very gorgeous and detailed pencil drawings throughout the book that add interest and keep the story moving along.REVIEW: This is a quirky and very different story from the usual junior novels. The aunts all have very unusual names such as Majolica and they have unusual talents. The aunts adore Harriet and the entire story is very upbeat. There is quite a bit of predictability to this story, but this is expected in this age range of books.AGE RECOMMENDATION: Grades 2-4


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