Just Harriet

HarperCollins/Walden Pond. Feb. 2022. 208p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780063092044.
Gr 2-4–On the last day of third grade, Harriet’s pregnant mother is put on strict bed rest until the baby comes—which isn’t supposed to happen until August. This, coupled with her father’s busy work schedule, is the reason why Harriet is shipped off to her grandmother’s bed-and-breakfast on Marble Island for the entire summer. As much as Harriet loves the island and her Nanu, she is understandably angry at the situation and struggles to adapt. Her first-person narration showcases her conflicting actions as she tries to understand her complex and deep emotions. She also searches for a treasure her father mentioned, discovering facts about his childhood and realizing that there is more to him than she thought. Frequent black-and-white illustrations depict characters as white. Harriet is cued as Jewish. The slow, leisurely pace of Harriet’s adventures, as well as her significant emotional growth in making peace with her situation and father, will have readers thinking a whole summer has passed, but the book spans less than two weeks.
VERDICT A gentle, slow-moving summer adventure that’s big on character growth; a sweet additional purchase.

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