Our feisty heroine Harriet had me thinking that she was going to be a bit, energetic, from the very first page. In fact, the cover and title make that clear. I was ready for it and enjoying the story until the obvious in your face words, “Her dads,” comes onto the page. I have no issue with two dads. Or two moms. Or gender-neutral parents. In fact, I celebrate that. However, I was really hoping they would just show the two dads going about their daily business and not make any fuss over the fact that yes, we have two dads.
With that said, Jessie Sima (the author of Not Quite Narwhal) makes the rest of the story work. Harriet Gets Carried Away is a book most kids will relate, too. While wearing her very special running errand costume of a penguin in a bow-tie, Harriet gets carried away by real penguins when looking for the perfect birthday party hats. Of course, it is left up to you the reader to decide if she really is “carried away” and must hitch a ride with a whale (and later) some friends from the park, or just lets her imagination get carried away.
All was redeemed for me when I noticed the hidden nod to one of the other books by Sima. The surprise on the wall is subtle and the perfect way to acknowledge that Sima is the author and illustrator of this book and of Not Quite Narwhal as well.