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Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild!

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Home » Books » Children's » Fiction » Family » Parents

Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild!

By Mem Fox, Marla Frazee (Illustrated by)

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Format: Paperback, 32 pages
Other Information: illustrations
Published In: United States, 01 April 2000
Harriet doesn't mean to be pesky. Sometimes she just is. And her mother doesn't mean to lose her temper. Sometimes she just does. But Harriet and her mother know that even when they do things they wish they hadn't, they still love each other very much.

Reviews

PreS-K-An exaggerated but recognizable domestic drama with an exasperating, trouble-prone heroine at its center. Harriet is always guilty of some minor but messy infraction like spilling juice, dripping paint, or ripping her feather pillow. She is never naughty on purpose, she says. It just happens, and she is always sorry. Her long-suffering mother is never angry on purpose. It just happens and, when she yells, she is sorry, too. Extending the text, which plays on the parallel between provoked mother and fractious child, are the expressive illustrations done in pencil and transparent drawing inks. Their small, upper-middle class, personal world is depicted in telling detail. While Harriet's mischief escalates, readers are assured of a gentle touch by the pastel palette and the soft-edged pictures that bleed out into generous white space. What seems to be missing in this otherwise charming effort is any evidence of effective parenting. When Harriet spills, mom sponges; when she dribbles, mom launders. "Harriet, my darling child. Harriet, you'll drive me wild," is the overwrought mother's oft-repeated but feckless refrain. There never seem to be any real consequences for Harriet's misbehavior. Only in the final illustration do readers see parent and child cleaning up the mess together. This is meant to be a reassuring book, but it fails if one believes that a consistent, firm, fair parent is always more comforting than one who does not seem in control. David Shannon's No, David! (Scholastic, 1998) handles a similar theme with more deftness and humor.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Harriet is what grown-ups refer to as a handful. Through the course of a day, the youngster, perhaps accidentally, knocks over her juice, drips paint from her picture onto the carpet and slides off her chair at lunchtime, taking the tablecloth with her. Her mother, who "didn't like to yell," handles each incident with good-humored restraint: "Harriet, my darling child. Harriet, you'll drive me wild. Harriet, sweetheart, what are we to do?" But at naptime, Harriet gets on her mother's last nerve when she intentionally rips open a feather pillow: "Then Harriet's mother began to yell./ She yelled and yelled and yelled." It's a situation that may well ring true for every family, and Fox (Sleepy Bears), in a rhythm well known to her fans, resolves it with good sense and warmth (mother and daughter apologize to each other, share a giggle and embark on clean-up together). Visually, the book never strikes a false note: Frazee's (The Seven Silly Eaters) handsome domestic vignettes, framed by generous white space, are realistic and reassuring. All this authenticity, however, adds up to something less than compelling√Ąthe book ultimately feels more like a parenting article than something children will clamor to hear and see again. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

-A most successful team effort.---The Horn Book -Lively illustrations sparkle . . . [This book] should prove a soothing balm for exasperated moms and their busy little bees.---Kirkus Reviews -Harriet . . . is a thoroughly engaging character, one whose acquaintance readers will be delighted to make.---The New York Times Book Review "A most successful team effort."--The Horn Book "Lively illustrations sparkle . . . [This book] should prove a soothing balm for exasperated moms and their busy little bees."--Kirkus Reviews "Harriet . . . is a thoroughly engaging character, one whose acquaintance readers will be delighted to make."--The New York Times Book Review "A most successful team effort."--"The""Horn Book" "Lively illustrations sparkle . . . [This book] should prove a soothing balm for exasperated moms and their busy little bees."--"Kirkus Reviews" "Harriet . . . is a thoroughly engaging character, one whose acquaintance readers will be delighted to make."--"The New York Times Book Review" "A most successful team effort."--"The" "Horn Book" "Lively illustrations sparkle . . . [This book] should prove a soothing balm for exasperated moms and their busy little bees."--"Kirkus Reviews" "Harriet . . . is a thoroughly engaging character, one whose acquaintance readers will be delighted to make."--"The New York Times Book Review"

EAN: 9780152045982
ISBN: 0152045988
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Dimensions: 23.01 x 22.91 x 0.28 centimetres (0.11 kg)
Age Range: 5-9 years
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6 review(s)
All Reviews
6
6
natasha crooks on
+2
There are two perspectives shared in this book. The first is the way a child feels when everything that they do frustrates the heck out of the people around them. The second is the position of the adult. Although their child often makes them want to sceam, they love them all the same. Sound a bit dry? Well this book is certainly far from that. An entertaining and well put together piece about being a kid and loving your kids.
Danielle Robertson on
 
My 4 yr old daughter absolutely loved this book. She really connected with the story. Of all the 5 books I bought her, this was the book I thought she'd least like, but I have to read it to her every night now. Mem Fox is an amazing author!
Melissa Johannesen on
 
Such a great book. Loved by both myself and my two year old.
Nicola Bloodworth on
 
I loved this book as it made me stop and think that maybe instead of yelling at each other, my sons and I should just have a hug and a laugh together and not sweat the small stuff. This book is very easy to read and has great pictures. It is one of our favourites in the book shelf.
Susan Whelan on
 
A relaxed and fun look at how parents and children can both drive each other wild, just like that. As Harriet gets into more and more scraps and messes throughout the day, her mother's patience finally wears out to breaking point. A nice reminder that even though we get frustrated, there are always opportunities for fun and laughter as well. My children and I have both enjoyed this book.
Liz Parnell on
 
This is an entertaining and humorous book for adults and children alike. Originally titled "Just Like That" the book has been around for many years and has become a much-loved favourite. Harriet seems to be having a terrible day and Harriet's mother doesn't like to shout... Children will see themselves in Harriet's character, and adults will see themselves in Harriet's mother. My kids love this book!

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