Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella is a magical adventure which celebrates the power of music and the arts.
The Story: All the cats in the City of Clouds, including Harper’s beloved cat Midnight, have gone missing. With the help of a magical scarlet umbrella, her friend Nate with his pet wolf, Smoke, and her friends from the Tall Apartment Block where she lives, Harper sets out to solve the mystery. They discover that the Wild Conductor has kidnapped the cats to play in his orchestra. A series of adventures follow during which Harper and Nate come up with a plan to rescue all the cats and return them to the City of Clouds. But the Wild Conductor is as determined to keep the cats as Harper is to save them…
We really enjoyed the originality of this story with its cast of colourful characters who were, in their different ways, involved in music, literature and the performing arts. Harper is a strong determined heroine but the help and support of visually impaired Nate and his wolf Smoke play an important part in her rescue plan. The inclusion of so many different instruments in the story, including a reference to the sections of an orchestra, provided a fantastic learning experience and gave my daughter an introduction to more unusual instruments including the mandolin and the ukulele.
Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella is a joy to read aloud, the mystery and tension keep you reading and the text is as lyrical as the music in the story. The shiny silver cover sparkles with the snowflakes that play a role at the end of the book and there are so many fantastic illustrations that it is difficult to choose a favourite. I love the picture of Liesel, Harper and Nate’s neighbour, standing before a door that says Keep Out and my daughter spent ages poring over the wonderful double page spread that shows the cats playing in the orchestra.
Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella is a small hardback book that’s the perfect size (and colour!) for a Christmas stocking.
Age Range: 7 +
Thank you to Scholastic for sending us a copy of this beautiful, beautiful book.