Harriet is just waiting for the next adventure to come along when she encounters a mysterious chipmunk who tries to sell her magic beans in return for Mumphrey. Naturally, Harriet refuses but when Mumphrey eats a bean things get a little....dicey. Next thing she knows, there's a giant beanstalk growing up to the sky and it's snagged a cloud castle! Harriet climbs up to explain, but when she discovers the inhabitant of the cloud castle is NOT a nice person (anybody who buys people qualifies as bad in Harriet's book) she changes her plans. Now she's going to try to escape the giant's huge castle with her new friend, Harpster, a goose (it lays ordinary but prolifically), and her old friend Wilbur who shows up just at the wrong moment.
Will Harriet save the day or will it all end with a nasty splat?
Vernon has crafted another hilarious fractured fairy tale with plenty of laughs, lots of illustrations, and a few home truths. Harriet is all set to apologize and move on; after all, giants aren't inherently evil, but once she sees that he's gotten a bit above himself and is buying people! Well! There are also some cogent remarks about making do with what you have, sticking to your promises, and the disgusting nature of soggy shoelaces. Not to mention Wilbur's helpful addition of the liabilities of magic when things look a little iffy with the chipmunk near the end.
Verdict: Adults and kids alike can revel in Vernon's delightful series. A great choice for read-alouds, book clubs, and just pure fun. Highly recommended.
ISBN: 9780399186523; Published 2017 by Dial Books for Young Readers: Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library (also purchased a copy for myself and a copy for the library)