Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest – Vashti Hardy
The Iron Forest is the first in a series of Harley Hitch books by Vashti Hardy. Hardy’s previous books include Brightstorm and Wildspark and I would say that the Harley Hitch series are aimed at slightly younger readers – maybe around 7-9 year olds.
Harley lives with her two Grandads and is a keen problem solving inventor who goes to Cogworks School in Forgetown. When a mysterious fungus is discovered in the Iron Forest, Harley is keen to help find a solution to the destruction of this important eco-system, almost too keen. She is desperate to solve the mystery in order to win Pupil of the Term and beat her nemesis, Fenelda Spiggot.
Harley is a likeable central character, but she does have a tendency to rush into things and not take advice from those around her. By the end, she does learn this lesson and, with the support of her friends and family, is able to make everything right.
My boy really enjoyed this one and he’s keen to read the next in the series. As it’s well within his ready capability, I’ll leave it for him to enjoy on his own though. It’s great for an 8 year old, but it doesn’t have enough depth for his 40 year old dad to be desperate to find out what happens next.
Tom, age 8, says: “I liked it because you don’t get many books about inventing and I’m interested in inventing. I really liked the fish that helped Harley understand how to solve the problem in the Iron Forest. I liked Cosmo because he was good at coming up with ideas after going to the library. I also liked the Grampas because they were good at supporting Harley even when she made mistakes.”