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The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean (Harriet Bean #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  195 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
When Harriet Bean's father mentions that he has five sisters--whom Harriet has never met--she is immediately intrigued. Harriet is determined to uncover the whereabouts of her five lost aunts, but with nothing more than an unfinished family portrait and a few outdated clues, will she be able to locate them? Join Harriet in her search to reunite her father with his five los
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (first published 1990)
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This is a cute book, but lacks the warmth and charm of the author's "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series. It strikes me, however, that this would be a great read-aloud book! Harriet Bean was nine years old when suddenly one day she found out that she had five aunts! Her father had neglected to mention that he had sisters. So they went off to find the lost aunts, and adventures happen in their pursuit.

This is a "chapter book", with ten short chapters. Find an elementary school child and read
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Illustrator: Ian Bilbey
First Published: 1990

Don't think of this as a book by Alexander McCall Smith. It leaves you with too many expectations - of language, characters, narrative, storylines.

When we stop considering the author we get a nice chapter book in a linked trilogy with novel situations, unusual characters and an engaging narrative. An easy, humorous read that we read in one (rather long) sitting.

A nice, fluid read aloud with an easy to follow story and nice
Michelle McBeth
SUMMARY: Harriet didn't know she had any aunts until her father reveals that she actually has five! Unfortunately, he lost contact with them and has no idea where they could be living. Harriet instantly decides she wants to find these aunts and to have the unfinished family portrait completed. She sets out to find her aunts with a little help from people along the way.

ILLUSTRATIONS: There are very gorgeous and detailed pencil drawings throughout the book that add interest and keep the story movi
Jul 14, 2008 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty cute. I tried to read it aloud to my son, but found it hard to keep all the voices straight. While it's hard to believe that Harriet's dad could "forget" to tell her about his sisters, I like how Harriet tracks them all down. It's almost an advertisement for genealogy research! :)
Ruth Ann
Oct 19, 2014 Ruth Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile, fiction
I enjoyed this funny tale of a young girl who finds out that her dad has five sisters that she has never been told about so she sets off to find each of them. Of course each aunt is quite a character and readers will be amused. I look forward to reading other books in this series to hear about adventures that Harriet has with these aunts now that she has found them.
Slow Man
Jun 25, 2016 Slow Man rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Get ready to meet the five aunts of Harriet Bean. They are quirky and none of them knew Harriet existed. Not forgetting her father who is weird as well. This one has got to do with an unfinished painting and she has to track all her aunts down to complete the painting.

I never knew the author has written something for children until now.
Jul 17, 2011 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children starting to read chapter books
Shelves: childrens, humor, art, 2011
We were going on a short road trip, so I thought I'd get a couple of audiobooks to listen to along the way. We found this at our local library and it was a very entertaining story. I prefer reading, but I enjoyed listening to Charlotte Parry narrate the tale. We really liked this story, so we will be sure to look for more Harriet Bean stories by Alexander McCall Smith at our library.
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
It's always quite surprising exactly what kids actually like. My 8 1/2 year old son was really into this book, and we've immediately moved on to another in the series. A somewhat improbably story line- Harriet Bean discovers aged 9 that she has 5 aunts that her father somehow hasn't mentioned over the past 9 years. Of course Harriet sets out to find her ridiculously named aunts. As an adult reading it out loud, it was far from the worst book that we've tackled, but I must say that I was expectin ...more
Apr 22, 2016 Audrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book way back in the day. Really interesting. My favorites are the telepathic aunts. They're just like Thomson and Thompson from Tintin.
recommended for EL310 @ Chase Academy

If we can ignore the fact that two of the "lost" aunts are mind-reading, detectives, The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean is a fun read for young readers. The plot may come of as too convenient and sometimes ridiculous to adult readers, but I think young readers (2nd - 3rd grade) will enjoy the premise and the distinct characteristics of each aunt. It'd also be fun to create a portrait of the Harriet's aunts based on the details provided in the book.

This bo
Aug 04, 2014 Italy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very cute. I have read several of this author's adult books and wondered what his children's books would be like. It was fun.
May 10, 2015 Maelyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Darling little book I read with my 10 y/o. Not in the same vein as we are accustomed too w/ AMS but quirky and cute.
Feb 17, 2014 Ange rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Children's book.

Book 1 Introductory. Cute. Fun. Harriet is respectful of adults and a child anyone would like.
Apr 11, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very cute. I listened to this story on my phone from my local library app.
Jun 27, 2012 Kylee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kylee by: no one
Shelves: mystery
Harriet Bean wanted to find her 5 lost aunts. But her father did not know where they were or lived. So she set off to find her first aunt aunt in the circus because her first aunt performed in the circus. Then when she went to the circus and she saw her first aunt in the circus.And her first aunt knew where her second aunt was so they found her. Also her second aunt was in the opera and she knew that her aunt was a teacher so then they found her and she visited the last 2 aunts every Wensday for ...more
super cute. can't wait to read it to the class!
Sara Truog
Cute juvenile novel (first in the series) about a girl with an absent-minded father, who suddenly remembers and tells his daughter that he has five sisters. She, of course, wants to meet these aunts she didn't know she had - and so she sets off to find them. I chose this thinking I'd like to introduce my library book club to this author, who is so popular with adults. However, my book club is primarily boys who have a tendency to balk at books about girls... so I may have to wait a little while ...more
Gina Huber
Apr 04, 2012 Gina Huber rated it it was ok
This story is best for the younger. While presented as being a mystery, there is nothing that might scare of worry a younger child. Harriet finds out, when she's nine, that her absent minded father forgot to tell her that he has five sisters. Harriet decides that it is of the utmost importance that she find these heretofore unmentioned aunts. The father character is slightly odd and it was hard for me to connect with him or any of the other characters.
I read this maybe a month or two ago. It was silly. And not to be taken too seriously, but still enjoyable.

I felt that the first half of the book was slow and then the last half went by quicker-like much more events happened. You'd almost think there had to be another book to complete it but it did get through it all in one book by smushing lots together at the latter chapters.

Overall enjoyable and funny, or silly at the least.
Jan 04, 2009 Madeline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Harriet bean goes to the circus and the strong lady is Harriet beans
fathers sister Veronika then she goes to the opera house and finds
another aunt and found the bossiest aunt as a teacher then the
mind reading twins as detectives. It was an interesting story!

Jun 27, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-with-kids
I picked this up at the library because i've enjoyed a number of McCall Smith's adult novels. Madeleine and i made it through the book in just a couple of days - easy and engaging reading. She was captivated by the extraordinary characters and stories. I felt that the writing was tight and evocative. There is another Harriet Bean book out there, and i'm sure that we'll pick that one up soon!
Mar 21, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mimie-books
Alexander McCall Smith signed and sent this book to Mimie before she was born, because I emailed him and told him I was naming my daughter Emilie Isabel after his character Isabel Dalhousie. She's just now old enough to enjoy a "chapter book" and she LOVED this one. She giggled and hooted with laughter all the way through it. Five stars for that.
Aug 24, 2011 Lucilene rated it liked it
Really enjoyed, good for kids around 8 to 12... or for mothers to read to their kid!!

This was the first book I ever read in Dutch. I am so happy with myself !

This Big boom contains the collection of the 3 books written over Harriet Bean and her 5 fantastic Aunts!!

Jun 16, 2009 Treasure rated it really liked it
Lovely short little books in a series. The plots move quickly, all the characters are memorable and quirky, and setting is a bit magical in the way that all good children's books are. Great read aloud or for mid-elementary readers, girls in particular.
Jan 21, 2010 Jeannie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Cute story for children. It won't hold the interest for an adult as his other books do, it's too simple, but kids would probably like it. I didn't feel the McCall Smith magic.
Sep 10, 2011 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, so I had to check out what the author could do with a children's book. It was only ok. I must have been expecting too much.
Apr 19, 2013 LJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the relaxed plot and the interesting tall-taleish slant. Superb writing drew me in slowly and completely. My nine-year-old grandson really liked it, too.
Mar 07, 2009 Mbjc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love that my younger daughter, a non-reader, likes Alexander McCall Smith books and that she and I can each enjoy age-appropriate stories by the same author.
Mar 04, 2012 Kirsten rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-fiction
I read this to Ellie but I had to include it in my books because it's by one of my favorite authors. So funny and whimsical!
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Harriet Bean (3 books)
  • Harriet Bean and the League of Cheats (Harriet Bean, #2)
  • The Cowgirl Aunt of Harriet Bean (Harriet Bean, #3)

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