Horace & Harriet Take On The Town by Clare Elsom

The Blurb On The Back:

Harriet is seven.  And a quarter.  Horace is seventeenth century.  And a STATUE!

But after a rather rocky start, their friendship is soon on a very firm footing.  Together they take up the challenge to help Horace (who has come down from his pedestal) get to grips with modern life.

Separated by centuries.  Joined by a common purpose.  Horace and Harriet are rock solid! 

You can order HORACE & HARRIET TAKE ON THE TOWN by Clare Elsom from Amazon USAAmazon UKWaterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Harriet is seven and a quarter, lives with her mum and her grandad and is best friends with Fraser and Megan.  Horace (full name Lord Commander Horatio Frederick Wallington Nincompoop Maximus Pimpleberry the Third) is a statue who lives on a pedestal in the park and whose best friend is Barry the pigeon.  Horace does not like living on the pedestal – people graffiti him, play jokes on him, has litter dumped around him and even worse is pooed on constantly by other pigeons.  One day, while Harriet and her grandfather are in the park, Horace decides that he’s had enough and is going to find somewhere else to live.  Harriet reluctantly gets involved in helping him to find a new home but where should he go?  And how will Horace react to modern day life?

Clare Elsom’s self-illustrated humour book for children aged 7+ (the first in a series) is a breezy read that sets out the friendship between an unlikely duo and has plenty of humour (including amusing drawings) that will appeal to younger readers and although I wished there’d been a bit more of Harriet’s human friends, Horace is a pompous but winning character and I’d like to see more of the pair.

Harriet is a sporty character, keen to be more independent and bothered by the mean kid gang led by Angela Spicklicket more than she knows she ought to be.  I wanted to see more of her friendship with Fraser and Megan (who are little more than name checked here) but I liked the way she sets out to help Horace and feels responsible for him and stands up to him when he becomes too pompous.  I also enjoyed her relationship with her grandfather (who is remarkable accepting of the fact that a statue has come to life but is also willing to engage with Horace and his shenanigans) but I wished that Harriet’s mum had more to do than the nagging and complaining that she does in her few scenes.

The main reason to read the book is Horace, who is splendidly pompous and arrogant and completely at a loss in the modern world.  Much of the humour comes from his lack of comprehension of technology and his enmity with Duke Cuthbert Emery Buckington Silverbottom the Second (who enjoys a much more salubrious plinth) and I really loved Barry the pigeon who puts up with him and comes to his defence when needed.

The illustrations have a lot of charm and add to all of the characters and the situations and the book includes a dictionary to explain some of the words used by Horace in the book, which will help to build up young readers’ vocabulary.

All in all I think this is a fun read that will appeal to readers aged 7+ and I look forward to seeing what Harriet and Horace get up to next.

HORACE AND HARRIET TAKE ON THE TOWN was released in the United Kingdom on 1st March 2018.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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