Hattie + Olaf – Frida Nilsson, illustrated by Stina Wirsén, translated by Julia Marshall, Gecko Press, (9781776573172), (c2006 Sweden), 2021
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? Hattie and Linda are best friends. They are at school where a bunch of the girls have contracted “horse fever”. One of the girls has her own horse, initiating playground games about horses where she is the ringleader. Hattie is jealous; she desperately wants her own horse, too. When her Dad brings home a donkey, Olaf, Hattie is devastated, so what does she do? She starts concocting elaborate lies about her “horse” and the other horses nearby. Now the girls are jealous of her. But she and Linda fall out due to all of Hattie’s tall tales. Hattie’s lies only grow and expand. What will happen when everyone finds out the truth?
Hattie is prickly, no doubt about it, and yet there is something endearing about her, too. She is quite aware of the trouble she is causing and yet seems powerless against it.
Stina Wirsen’s black line minimalist illustrations, manage to completely capture the situation with such simplicity. All characters present as white.
Anything you did not like about the book? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? Nilsson knows how to capture the young child as she really is, with all her faults, indecisions and joys. This would make a nice classroom readaloud for children in grades K-2 and for parents to read with their children.
Who should buy this book? Elementary schools and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? J Fiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Not unless you have read the first Hattie book, then yes.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Administrator, Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: 7/30/2021