Summary: Just Harriet
Just Harriet is a new chapter book/young middle grade book by Elana K. Arnold who wrote the A Boy Called BAT series. This new title features young Harriet whose family is undergoing a change. Her mom is pregnant and has been placed on bed rest until the baby is born.
Harriet, an energetic child has been sent to Marble Island where her grandmother lives and runs a bed and breakfast. She’s understandably frustrated, feeling abandoned by her parents. Thankfully, she takes her cat, Matzo Ball with her. When she arrives at Marble Island, Harriet starts to learn more about her father’s childhood and discovers that they have more in common than she expects.
I loved this story! Harriet is a strong-willed girl who is understandably crabby when she’s dropped on Marble Island, but as the story progresses, you can’t help but love her. I also adored Matzo Ball (what a cute pet name!) and Moneypenny (her grandma’s basset hound); they definitely add a charm to the entire story.
Maybe this is a weird preference, but I love books set in motels, hotels, bed and breakfasts — it just feels so escapist to me. Harriet’s Nanu’s B&B is a great setting and I loved watching guests check in and out. Harriet also has a nice time enjoying the island.
This story has an intriguing mystery subplot that I don’t want to spoil, but I’ll say that I loved it. It involves a bit of American history and environmental activism — both themes presented in an appealing way for young readers.
Overall: Just Harriet
Just Harriet is a charming, engaging chapter book/young middle grade book with a memorable, relatable protagonist. Filled with sweet illustrations and set in a small island town, this story will appeal to fans of stories set in motels/B&B’s, lovers of animal stories, and readers who enjoy stories with strong grandparent bonds. Finally, this is definitely another pick for kids who love Ramona Quimby!