Review: Harley Hitch and the Fossil Mystery

Written by Vashti Hardy
Illustrated by George Ermos
Published by Scholastic

I absolutely loved joining Harley, Cosmo and Sprocket on their third exciting, BIG, time-twisty adventure in Harley Hitch and the Fossil Mystery.

When Harley receives a letter from school just before the start of the summer term, she is relieved to discover that her antics of the previous term have not led to a suspension!  Instead, she discovers that new teacher, the aptly named Professor Anning, is taking the class on a trip to Inventia Jurassic Coast. 

When it seems that Harley may be the only member of her class not to discover a fossil, Sprocket, her robot-dog, unwittingly helps her to find a one-of-a-kind fossil:  a dinosaur footprint!  Could Harley have discovered a new dinosaur species?  And could this discovery, at last, help her to win the coveted Pupil of the Term?  Of course, there is the little matter of proving her discovery, especially as her former friend and now rival, Fenelda Spiggot, suggests that the fossil might not even be real. 

And what better way to prove its authenticity than to build a time machine which will also be her entry in the ‘best invention’ competition set by Professor Spark.  But, where Harley is concerned, things don’t always go exactly to plan …

And so begins another amazing, action-packed adventure which is guaranteed to keep young readers turning pages as they follow Harley on her quest to travel back in time with some brilliantly unexpected consequences sure to bring roars of delight and maybe a few squeals of fright!  Those who have read the previous adventures will be delighted to meet some well-loved characters such as the inspirational metal fish in the Rusty River and – my absolute favourites – the dazzling stars in the star-chatter observatory who I think deserve a book of their own!

Harley has definitely won a place in my heart! She really is the most wonderful young girl:  ever-curious, tenacious, a risk-taker, believing in the possibility of the impossible, as well as being kind-hearted, a quick-thinker and someone who takes responsibility for her actions.  She is such a brilliant role model for young readers, especially for those interested in STEM subjects.  I really enjoyed the blend of science with science-fiction and the perfectly scientific process that Harley takes towards her invention.    

The partial and full-page illustrations by George Ermos are wonderfully expressive and capture the fun and excitement of this adventure perfectly.  Professor Anning riding into town on her dino trundle bike is a particular favourite as is Ursa Major’s reaction to Halley’s guitar playing. Brilliant!

Harley Hitch and the Fossil Mystery is a joyous, exciting and playful adventure, perfect for young readers of 7+ who are guaranteed to want to travel into this world time and time again! 

Thank you Scholastic for providing me with an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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