Harriet’s Reflections

Eerdmans. Feb. 2024. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780802856210.
PreS-Gr 2–A lion’s reflection, bored with its life, looks around for another subject to reflect and lands on Harriet. It jumps into a puddle, and Harriet, seeing the fierce lion’s face staring back at her, feels stronger and more able to take on her day at school. This goes well for a while until the reflection is responsible for Harriet’s bad moments, too. Delightfully funny pictures show that Harriet’s howls, growls, and aggressive behavior with the art supplies do not go unnoticed and she is scolded. Harriet hides from the lion’s reflection, finding herself in a small compact mirror, and then learns to go between the two reflections, to take from each the best of what it has to offer. The colors unspool and flow in Kadi’s bright illustrations. Harriet could be Latina, with tan skin and black hair, though the lion and its reflection may set this in northwest India or Africa. Realism is not really the point; this is an attempt to offer SEL for small children without having to unwrap a lot of subtext. It’s confusing, but fun, and most children will enjoy Harriet’s adventure.
VERDICT An awkward but gentle inquiry into self-esteem, imagination, and self-governance, done with humor and wonderful watercolor-like paintings.

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