Monday 21 December 2015

Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella by Cerrie Burnell & illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson

From the fourteenth floor of the Tall Apartment Block, Harper gazed dreamily across the City of Clouds. Trams rumbled through heavy rain and bright umbrellas bobbed like little boats.

Published by Scholastic in October 2015
Pages - 122

Harper lives in the City of Clouds with her Great Aunt Sassy and her beloved cat Midnight. When Midnight goes missing - together with all the cats of the neighbourhood - Harper realises that only her magical scarlet umbrella can help her find him...
When Harper steps out with the umbrella in her hand, she is carried up into the sky on a series of amazing adventures. And Midnight isn't all she finds when she stumbles upon the Midnight Orchestra and its wild conductor...
This really is a charming, whimsical read that will delight any young reader. There is something magical about the combination of Burnell's words and Anderson's illustrations that sets you adrift in a world of glorious imagination. To finally have their combined talents in a chapter book is wonderful as the children who adore their picture books will have more books to look forward to as they grow up.

Harper is an adorable character, who is brave and heartwarming at the same time. You can tell her friends are in awe of her. She is the type of character who lights up a room as soon as she enters it. Her cat, Midnight is delightfully special too. Nate was definitely one of my favourite characters in the story, alongside his majestical wolf, Smoke. However, the mad conductor reminded me of the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang, and he doesn't seem to have any redeeming characters at all. The story follows Harper and her friends from the magical building she lives in as they try to find out where all their beloved pets have gone. 

I would have loved a little more world building in the book. I want to know more about the City of Clouds and why Midnight is so special, not to mention the magical umbrella. I imagine as the series progresses, we will find out more about these things, alongside the mysterious Circus of Dreams. 

If you are looking for a last minute stocking filler, this book is definitely ideal. An unusual and magical world just waiting to be brought further to life. I look forward to more books in this series.

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