Book Review: Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest – Vashti Hardy

Author(s): Vashti Hardy (author), George Ermos (illustrator)
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Publication date: March 2021
About the publisher: “We believe that independent reading is a critical part of children’s learning and growth. With support from teachers, parents and schools, children choose from Scholastic the books they want to read, and discover the pleasure and power of reading. Finding the right book at the right time can light an emotional spark within children that motivates them to read more, understand more and read joyfully. When that happens, the world opens and everything becomes possible.

(Taken from the Scholastic website)


Join Harley, her robot dog Sprocket and best friend Cosmo for problem-solving adventures and mysteries in Inventia, a world where science rules and technology grows in the forest; and where exploding science projects, giant slugs and runaway robots are all part of a normal school day.

The Iron Forest near Harley’s home is unlike any other – plants and trees grow cogs and hinges and other mechanical parts – and all of Inventia depends on it. So when a strange fungus is discovered, there’s a race to find a solution. Without essential parts for inventions, the town is quickly falling apart…

But just who or what is behind the mysterious infestation? Harley decides it’s up to her to save the day – with chaotic results!


Does Vashti Hardy ever disappoint? The answer is no. She’s back with yet another new character, a new world, and a new adventure. They just keep coming and I am here for it.

Harley Hitch is clever and kind but also a bit impulsive, which occasionally means her well-meant plans go slightly astray. When a fungus starts destroying the Iron Forest, which Iventia depends on, she ropes in her friend Cosmos and her robot dog, Sprocket, to investigate.

There is so much about this book to love. Harley lives with her two grandpas which will appeal to many children who live in family settings outside of the ‘mum and dad’ scenario. There is also a critically important exploration of the impact humans have on the environment when using natural resources, and the consequences of not looking after them properly. It blows my mind every time I read one of Hardy’s books how cleverly she weaves in subjects like renewable sources and sustainability to educate her readers.

As always, STEM is a main theme throughout the book with a particular emphasis on engineering. Honestly, I wish I’d had the opportunity to learn about engineering when I was in school so it brings me so much joy to see Hardy’s books advocating for women in STEM.

I can’t write this review without mentioning the wonderful illustrations by George Ermos. It would make me incredibly happy to see a full colour illustrated edition of Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest. I think the story would lend itself perfectly to this format.

Highly recommended? Obviously.

Many thanks to Scholastic for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Order now

You can support your local bookshop by buying Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest through them directly, or via Hive.

Comment below

What do you think of Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest? Will you be reading it? Let me know in the comments below.

Wishing you a wonderfully bookish week,


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