Hattie ­Harmony: Opening Night

Viking. Jun. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593351468.
PreS-Gr 2–In this sequel to Hattie Harmony: Worry Detective, the main character returns, and this time it’s opening night of the school play at Wildwood Elementary. Everyone has a good case of the nerves, but “Worry, Worry, Go Away! There’s no time for you today!” offers Hattie Harmony. She also offers advice to Pearl Peppercorn, who has an outsized case of stage fright, showing Pearl how writing down how she feels will help. Plus, Hattie herself is a mess, willing to use her tail as a brush in spilled paint, reminding Seymour that “perfect” isn’t as important as using his imagination for the sets, and above all else, the show must go on! When Hattie starts to succumb to backstage fever, the seamstress is right there to help her visualize a calm beach. Hattie never comes off as insufferable—a mystery best left for another day—and her good cheer keeps the whole book marching right along. Olsen and Arnett dispense wisdom in palatable child-size bites, offset with full-page illustrations in paintbox-bright colors and more backstage glee than opening night of any Broadway show.
VERDICT Hattie is a trouper to amuse and deflect all of life’s little annoyances; for move up day or a larger piece of stagecraft, this book has an SEL foundation that makes it useful and fun in a variety of settings.

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