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HARRIET BEAN AND THE LEAGUE OF CHEATS by Alexander McCall Smith

HARRIET BEAN AND THE LEAGUE OF CHEATS

By Alexander McCall Smith (Author) , Laura Rankin (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-58234-976-2
Publisher: Bloomsbury

            Smith is back with another series for young readers, this time with a girl as the protagonist.  Harriet Bean, like Smith’s beloved adult book characters, has an interest in detective work. When her father casually mentions that he has five sisters, Harriet is intrigued.  And when her father shows her an unfinished family portrait, Harriet decides to find her aunts and complete the painting.  Like the Chinese brothers, these sisters have special powers:  One is strong, another bossy, the twins can read minds and the last is a master singer and ventriloquist.  Short on believability but long on fun, this first Harriet Bean shows promise.  Unfortunately, the second installment, Harriet Bean and the League of Cheats (ISBN:  1-58234-976-2), is not as charming and hardly involves the aunts at all.  The mind-reading twins, who run their own detective agency, call on Harriet to help them with a case.  With characters ridiculously named Ed, Ted, and Fred, Harriet masquerades as a jockey so she can find out why a racehorse trainer’s horses are suddenly losing races.  Yawn.  (illustrations not seen) (Fiction.  7-9)