A Girl called Harry

ISBN 9781869439705
Scholastic, 2010
Storylines list of notable books for 2011

Harriet Jasmine Emerald Florence Mabey McDonald (Harry for short) wonders if an imagination is something fast, like a cheetah – in which case it’s not your fault if it runs away with you, because you couldn’t stop it.

Or is it something little, like a celebrity’s handbag dog, which can only run away with you if you let it?

When the new girl starts at school, and takes over Harry’s best friend, her imagination runs riot.

Perhaps your imagination is more like a kite, which can carry you away…

The story behind the book

You might be able to guess what inspired some of the events in this book from the dedication:

This book is for Brooklyn School
Teachers, staff and students
And families, past and present

This is the school that my children all went to. But after the dedication, there is a line that points out:
All characters are of course entirely fictitious!

A Girl Called Harry


The day the new girl arrived, we were the first ones to see her. We were Official New Girl Spotters. We got to hang around the door of our classroom, waiting for everyone else to arrive – Piper, Aleesha, Tina, Zoe, Renee, Latisha (not Claudine, of course) – and when they turned up, we passed on the news before they could see for themselves. “Guess what? New girl!”

They were as excited as we were. Not the boys, of course, they weren’t excited at all.

“Not another girl,” Karl Ballentyne groaned. “There’s too many already. Can we send her back?”

We saw her first because Jessica was ready on time for once, so we got to school early, and spotted her through the classroom windows. There she was, with her parents, talking to Mr Cool and the principal, Mr Bennett. Her dad was in there, anyway. I couldn’t see her mum, but she might have been trying to keep out of the principal’s way as he flapped his arms around, explaining what a fantastic school it was.

Yeah, right, her mum would be thinking, a fantastic school, run by a lunatic who thinks he’s a giant flamingo.


Thanks to KidsBooksNZ for this review.

“Harry is an endearingly enthusiastic and likeable heroine.”
Around the Bookshops, August 2010

“Werry handles issues of drifting friendships, rivalries and learning not to leap to conclusions with a nice light touch as Harry discovers that first impressions are not always right.”
The Children’s Bookshop, 2010

Teacher notes available here.

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