Holiday Hullabaloo, by Claire Craig

Harriet Bright woke up at 4.56 am.
The curtains were drawn, the room was dark, her eyes were the eyes of a northern-spotted owl – very wide open.
It was Christmas.
Harriet Bright was positively excited. her brain was pinging with happy thoughts. This was the very moment she’d been thinking about for 364 days.
She’d even woken up with a poem fully formed in her head.

Harriet Bright is trying hard to be good. But it’s very difficult to stay in bed on Christmas Day. She employs every strategy she can think of to make the time pass more quickly. But Christmas is full of surprises, and Harriet is about to be surprised. In the second episode of this mini-collection, Harriet decides to invent an invisible friend to cure her loneliness. But this invisible friend seems to have a mind of her own and she is not as willing to do what Harriet wants as Harriet thinks she should be. Things do not end well. In episode three, Pluto is being demoted and it’s up to Harriet and her friends to see if they find a way to reinstate the planet. And in the final episode, Harriet and her friend Melly Fanshawe create the most amazing holiday adventure EVER. Myriad fonts pick out words, phrases and sections to emphasise throughout the text. Even the illustrations scattered throughout make use of fonts.

Welcome into the mind of a nine-year-old girl. And what a mind! Harriet Bright is full of wondering and good ideas. Whether it’s passing the time, or inventing invisible friends Harriet has it covered. Who else would invent a friend like Gracie Marshall. And when it comes to two girls both wanting to be the star of their combined stories, Harriet and Melly have no equal. Their collaborative ‘very best holiday’ is a wild adventure. Harriet’s relationship with her mother is delightful. Holiday Hullabaloo includes subtle messages about rules and breaking them, about self-control and empowerment, but none of these overwhelm the story. Harriet Bright might not always be the easiest girl to have at home/in the classroom, but she’d always be fun. The use of varied fonts and word arrangements breaks up the text and adds interest. The ‘word pictures’ are fantastic! Recommended for junior primary, newly independent readers.

Holiday Hullabaloo (Harriet Bright), Claire Craig ill Melanie Feddersen
Penguin Books 2010
ISBN: 9780143305071

Reviewed by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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