Harley Hitch is one of those characters that always seem to get in trouble. She means well, but finds it difficult to keep to the rules. Harley would rather being off having adventures with her robotic dog ‘Sprocket’ and her best friend Cosmo and living in the fantastical world of Inventia gives her plenty of opportunity. This is a world ruled by science and there is even an “Iron Forest”, where mechanical parts grow on trees and supply the needs of the populace. When Harley discovers a fungus attacking the forest everyone is given the task of trying to find a cure. Will they succeed in saving the forest and hence Inventia’s ability to create scientific wonders and more importantly will Harley win ‘Pupil of the term’ at school?
This is a highly entertaining story by one of our new wave of brilliant fantasy authors. Vashti Hardy is well known for her books Brightstorm and Wildspark, but this time around she is writing for a slightly younger audience. The world is a mix of fantasy and science fiction and makes the reader think about what is possible and how much we depend on technology in our lives. George Ermos has brought Harley to life and given her the look and attitude that exactly re-enforces the image that we get from the descriptions. The pictures throughout the book are a fantastic way of adding to the atmosphere and introducing us to many of the other characters, including Harley’s two Grandpas and Cosmo. Look inside the back and front covers to see the fabulous versions of some of the ‘plants’ to be found in the forest; it shows the depth of detail that the author and illustrator have achieved. This is a wonderful book about friendship and how we can find it in unlikely places, as well as about family and learning to understand the needs of others and I can’t wait to read about more adventures for this feisty young hero.