Kirkus Reviews QR Code


From the Hattie Harmony series

by Elizabeth Olsen & Robbie Arnett ; illustrated by Marissa Valdez

Pub Date: June 13th, 2023
ISBN: 9780593351468
Publisher: Viking

In this latest from actor Olsen and her husband, musician/writer Arnett, a feline “Worry Detective” once more helps her animal classmates conquer their fears.

It’s opening night of Wildwood Elementary’s school play, and anxieties abound. After receiving a call from Pearl Peppercorn, who needs help dealing with stage fright, Hattie Harmony is on the case with her Worry Detective Tool Belt. As the students prepare for showtime, Hattie provides others—including Seymour Swiggletooth, a member of the crew upset at having spilled paint, and Duncan Delmar, the play’s director, who frets when he can’t turn the stage lights back on—with coping strategies such as journaling, taking breaks, and breathing deeply. Hattie’s classmates—and Hattie herself—benefit from her anxiety-relieving strategies, which readers in similar situations will find valuable. An authors’ note explains various skills to help kids cope with anxiety, perfectionism, and overwhelming thoughts. Valdez’s illustrations are appealing. Hattie is a bespectacled, trench coat–wearing striped cat. The other animals have expressive faces and exaggerated features, like the buck teeth on Seymour, a beaver. Stage lights and flashlights (when the lights go off) bring several scenes to life, and there are plenty of details to take in. The story is straightforward, the writing without flourish, but it nevertheless presents concrete, useful suggestions for confronting anxiety. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Practical advice to help empower young worriers.

(Picture book. 5-8)