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The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean

Press: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (May 1, 2006)
Publication Date:2006-5
Author Name:Alexander McCall Smith


One day, out of the blue, Harriet Bean's dad says to her, 'Your aunts would like to hear about that!' Harriet is shocked - this is the first time she's heard anything about any aunts, and suddenly, she has five of them! Naturally, she's very curious to meet them, especially as her dad has told her that they each have a rather special ability (apart from Aunt Majolica who's just extremely bossy). 
The trouble is, the family was split up years ago and they all lost touch with one another.
Will Harriet be able to reunite her dad with his sisters and enable the family portrait that was started many many years ago to finally be completed? She is determined, and starts her quest for the five missing aunts with a trip to the circus ...


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 is professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. 
He is also the author of over fifty books.
These range from adult fiction to specialist titles, such as Forensic Aspects of Sleep, to a wide selection of children's books.
In 1999 The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency was published.
This book quickly became a bestseller and was voted one of the 'International Books of the Year and the Millennium' by the Times Literary Supplement.
In America the success of the series was instant with sales exceeding two million in the USA alone.
Winner of three Author of the Year awards in 2004 (British Book Awards, Booksellers' Association and Waterstone's), Bloomsbury Publishing are very proud and excited to be re-publishing Alexander's key children's books.


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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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