Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
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*        = Good, with reservations


****Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild!

by Mem Fox

illustrated by Marla Frazee

Reviewed March 29, 2003.
Harcourt, San Diego, 2000.  32 pages.
Available at Sembach Library  (E FOX).
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #4, Old Favorite Picture Books

I do love this book!

“Harriet Harris was a pesky child.  She didn’t mean to be.  She just was.”

The book goes through a morning with Harriet.  She knocks over a glass of juice at breakfast.   She dribbles jam on her jeans, spills paint on a rug, and pulls the whole tablecloth off the table at lunchtime.  Harriet’s mother doesn’t like to yell.  Each time, her response to Harriet gets a little bit longer, as a sort of refrain.  Each time, her face in the pictures gets a little more annoyed.  Each time, Harriet is sorry.

Finally, at naptime, with the help of a dog, Harriet pulls apart a pillow, and feathers scatter all over the room.  Harriet’s Mom loses it, as any mother would.  There is some yelling, some crying, and then the two make up.  The book ends with Harriet and her mother laughing and picking up feathers together.

My summary can’t possibly capture the beauty and charm of this book.  The trouble isn’t Harriet’s fault.  She’s only being a child.  But it’s easy to understand when Mom starts yelling.  This book reminds mothers and kids that everybody makes mistakes sometimes, even moms.  But even when they lose their patience, they still love their kids.  I guess I’ve lived this situation too many times, because I find it wonderfully warm and comforting. 
Reviews of other books by Mem Fox:
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
Hello Baby!

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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