Review Blog

Mar 05 2020

Hattie by Frida Nilsson

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Illus. by Stina Wirsen. Gecko Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781776572717. 160 pp.
(Age: 6 - 9 years) Hattie is a six year old child eagerly awaiting her first day at school. She lives in the Swedish countryside on a small isolated farm with her parents and a number of animals. On her first day at school she makes friends with Linda who is a quiet shy child but happily follows Hattie's lead throughout the story. Hattie acts before she thinks and often ends up having to apologise for her actions and face the consequences of her thoughtlessness. Putting soap in another student's drink bottle, locking another student in a shed, trying to conjure up a White Witch are just a few scenarios featuring Hattie at the forefront of things that happen during the school day. No wonder her poor teacher looks like he needs a holiday!
Even at home Hattie rules the roost. Her parents are forever caring of Hattie but she continuously tests their patience. When Hattie's mother is disappointed in her behaviour she runs away causing great angst for the family. While on holiday in Greece, a day's family outing is spoilt by Hattie's demands. Hattie is continually moving from one thing to another leaving some sort of upset in her wake. The story interestingly covers the seasons in the northern hemisphere and events such as Advent, Easter, Summer and Winter holidays, Hattie's birthday and end of year concert.
While Hattie is a mischievous child prone to dramatizing and over thinking situations, she is an endearing character. She has a very contrite and caring side when she realizes she has gone too far. It is an easy to read story with short chapters and would be a great read aloud story for Junior Primary students. The simple illustrations by Stina Wirsen are spaced throughout the text and make a welcome addition to the story. Themes: Starting school, Friendship, Farm life, Seasons, Mischief.
Kathryn Beilby

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