Title: Hattie and Olaf
Author: Frida Nilsson (translated by Julia Marshall)
Publisher: Gecko Press/Walker Books
Published: 4th August 2021
Synopsis: The audacious and captivating Hattie and her best friend Linda navigate the social politics of their first school years in this funny illustrated chapter book
Hattie wants a horse more than anything. Her friend Ellen has three ponies. When Hattie’s father finally comes home with a horse float, Hattie is ecstatic. But instead of a horse, out stomps Olaf—a donkey. Now Hattie not only has horse fever, she suddenly catches lying sickness as well.
- Extremely funny, lively and sympathetic chapter book series
- Humour, anarchy and energy of a modern-day Pippi Longstocking
- Themes of resilience and friendship told with warmth and humour
When Hattie asks her father for a horse, she starts to get excited when he brings home a horse float. Yet she fails to be impressed when her father unveils a donkey named Olaf, and this sets Hattie’s penchant to lie off on a whole new tangent that sparks fights at school, jealousy amidst friends, and leads her on a rollercoaster of emotions, troubles and a journey to finally discover what Olaf means to her and how wonderful true friendship is, as she finds herself working through things that we all do as kids.
It will be Ellen and the other girls who stick up for her when a boy bullies her and demands retaliation for certain events, and it will be her family who pills her through. But it will be Olaf who truly shows her the power of loyalty and friendship.
Frida Nilsson’s book is fun, whimsical, and filled with childlike wonder and certain experiences that many children face in their lives. She shows the world through Hattie’s eyes. She is just a child, and at times she acts impulsively and selfishly, but learns lessons along the way – that there are consequences for her actions. Some are deserved, and others are not.
She is allowed to grow and change and find her own way to understanding things without being shamed for not knowing – her parents are also flawed – let’s face it, we all are as humans – and they allow her to talk and express herself when she feels that she is able to.
Set in Sweden, it evokes the spirit of Pippi Longstocking, and those timeless stories that will capture the attention and joy of readers for a long time to come. This book will charm readers, and reassure them that they are not alone, whilst exploring themes of family, friendship, loyalty and personal growth as Hattie learns how special Olaf and all those around her are.
This is a perfect book for those aged nine or ten and older, and a great book to read during lockdown to reassure us that we are not alone.