Review Blog

Oct 16 2012

Horrible Harriet's inheritance by Leigh Hobbs

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2012. ISBN 9781741149852.
148 Pages
Ages: 7-11 Recommended. Horrible Harriet is back in all her narcissistic glory and this time in a novel written in her very own words. Her self-absorbed thoughts are met by the reader with jaw-dropping horror and laughter at the ridiculousness of it all. The scene for the story is set with a word of warning by H.H's lowly assistant Leigh Hobbs and an introduction by Miss Horrible Harriet herself complete with a sample of her insightful poetry.
School holidays has arrived and Horrible Harriet is busy working on a brilliant poem in her tower room when she is rudely interrupted by Fred the postman nervously knocking at the front door. Harriet is not hugely surprised to discover in a letter addressed to 'Her Royal Highness Miss Horrible Harriet' that she may well be a long lost member of the royal family. The only catch is that in order to claim her inheritance (including a stately home on the coast) she needs to fill in the missing names of her royal ancestors on her family tree. Thinking the obvious place to start looking for clues would be her photo album Harriet recounts her happy childhood in words and pictures with hilarity provided through the disparate illustrations and captions. Finding no success in this venture Harriet recalls a similarly humorous class trip to the museum in which she felt very at home with the royals who strangely enough all resembled her. If this is not proof enough the next day a chest arrives filled with yet more evidence.
So Horrible Harriet sets about proving her obvious royalty to the Palace, preparing the school for her unfortunate departure (the teachers in the cellar were working on her holiday homework and needed to be fed after all) and journeys to her stately home on the coast. Leigh Hobbs is a master at making each and every page deliciously inviting to the eye with each page filled with illustrations, interesting fonts and textures and a writing style which can't help but put a smile on a readers face. The section of the book which details Harriet's ideas of what her royal life will be like is hilarious in its self-importance as is her annotations of the photos of her royal ancestors. Mr Chicken fans will be delighted that he also makes a cameo performance.
Nicole Smith-Forrest

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