cover image Hattie the Bad

Hattie the Bad

Jane Devlin, , illus. by Joe Berger. . Dial, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-3447-0

In this riotous debut, Devlin adopts a deliciously conspiratorial, first-person voice as she introduces readers to a naughty little girl named Hattie: “When I say bad , I don't mean a forgot-to-clean-her-room, reading-comics-after-bedtime kind of bad .” No, Hattie scares her mother by putting frogs in the refrigerator and tries selling her little brother for 20 cents at a yard sale. Because “Hattie was always doing exciting bad things... other children thought she was great,” but their parents won't allow them to play with her. This prompts Hattie to become “just as good at being good as she had at being bad ”––though, try as she might, she can't resist her true nature forever. Berger's zesty, orange-splashed illustrations hum with energy and comic hyperbole, in perfect synch with the text. When Hattie turns obnoxiously good, her world becomes awash in pink, and the text “she kept her room clean” appears on a neat stack of boxes in her pristine room. Sly details like these make this a romp worth reading time and again. Ages 3–5. (Apr.)