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Children's LiteratureHarriet, the overworked cook at Lincoln School, takes a vacation. A vacation from preparing healthy food for all the students—and a vacation from trying to please all the kids by making lunches they will all eat without complaint. She flies off to an island paradise where she happily lounges by the ocean and relaxes in a hammock under palm trees. Meanwhile, back at the school, the kids are glad that Harriet is gone, especially when her substitute is Al from the diner. He makes them all the greasy hamburgers they can eat until the kids finally cannot stand the smell and the sloppiness any longer. Other replacements follow but, as the kids realize after a short time, not one of them makes lunch like Harriet. The kids send Harriet letters and e-mails, but she is loathe to leave her paradise. Does Harriet leave the good life to dash to the rescue? All doubts disappear when she gets a telegram telling her the kids are not healthy and begging her to come back. Kids will enjoy the busy and quirky illustrations. 2005, Holiday House, Ages 6 to 9.
—Carolyn Mott Ford