A miniature donkey needs love in this children’s picture book.
Harriet has always lived on a farm with about a dozen miniature donkeys like herself. Every day is much the same: eating, exploring, and playing. She has friends, Sally and Nacho, but tiny Harriet yearns for more attention from the farmer at feeding time; she can’t seem to make her way forward for hugs and affection. One day, something unexpected happens: Harriet, with Sally and Nacho, is driven to a large pasture owned by Mr. Michael, a friendly farmer. There’s plenty of oats, hay, and water, and, with only three donkeys, Mr. Michael can pay attention to each of them. Harriet decides the best thing about the new farm is definitely Mr. Michael’s hugs. Guiles (Harriet's Big Adventure, 2015) tells a very simple story well. Harriet’s plight is sympathetic but not overdone, and readers will enjoy seeing her desire for love and affection being met at last. It’s unknown how the donkeys come to be living on a farm or why some are moved, but for Harriet, as for small children, the world can be arbitrary like that. Whalen’s lovely, softly colored images are realistic yet still very expressive—a good choice that elevates the book.
Sweet, simple, and nicely illustrated.